The AL All-Star ballots: Ellsbury and Hamilton fighting for the start

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The final update in AL All-Star balloting before the starters are announced on Sunday is in, and it breaks down as follows, which is how it has broken down, more or less, for the past few weeks:

C: Russell Martin
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
2B: Robinson Cano
3B: Alex Rodriguez
SS: Derek Jeter
OF: Jose Bautista
OF: Curtis Granderson
OF: Josh Hamilton
DH: David Ortiz

The only position with any real up-in-the-air to it is that last outfield slot, which Hamilton holds over Jacoby Ellsbury by around 120,000 votes.  And for the record, Asdrubal Cabrera holds on to second place at short, which could be notable in the event that Derek Jeter is either not yet back from his calf injury or if he’s held out of the All-Star Game as a precaution.

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.