After 87 strikeouts and three homers, Jack Cust gets the boot

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A colossal flop as Seattle’s designated hitter, Jack Cust was designated for assignment Friday to make room for Erik Bedard on the roster.

Cust had just three homers and 23 RBI in 225 at-bats for the Mariners.  He was getting on base at a .344 clip, but his slugging percentage of .329 was barely above Ichiro’s .323 mark.  (Of course, Ichiro’s OBP is just .317, so Cust did have more than 30 points of OPS on him.)

But Cust can’t offer anything defensively, and since he’s managed only 16 homers in 574 at-bats over the last two years, he may have trouble finding work again in the majors.  He needs to some legitimate pop in combination with his willingness to take a walk, because with his lack of speed and the occasional mistake on the basepaths, he’s not going to score from first base very often.

Cust’s departure clears the way for the Mariners to give Wily Mo Pena a shot in a week or two.  For now, they may shift Mike Carp to the DH spot more frequently, opening up playing time in left field for Greg Halman.

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.