Reds ink Jay Bruce to six-year, $51M contract extension

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From ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick comes word that the Reds have signed outfielder Jay Bruce to a six-year, $51 million contract extension with a seventh-year club option that could bring the total worth of the deal to $63 million.

Bruce was a first-year arbitration-eligible player.  He could have taken a path that would have meant negotiating raises year-to-year but that also provides a quicker path to free agency.  Instead, he committed himself long-term to the Reds and will play out his prime years in Cincinnati.

The 23-year-old registered a rock solid .281/.353/.493 batting line, 25 home runs and 70 RBI in 2010 for the National League Central champion Reds.  He took a bit longer than expected to fully develop, but he’s a real-deal run producer now and is likely to mash in Great American Ballpark throughout the course of the contract.

The Reds inked starter Bronson Arroyo to a three-year, $35 million extension earlier this month.  They haven’t been too active on the free agent market, but at least the Red Legs are keeping their core intact.

Winning the NL Central in 2010 wasn’t a fluke and Cincy has all the pieces to do it again.

Mike Moustakas sets Royals single-season record with 37th home run

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Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.

The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.

Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.

Chris Sale records his 300th strikeout this season

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.

Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.

Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.