Curtis Granderson ties and then overtakes career high in homers

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Curtis Granderson hit his 30th and 31st homers Wednesday to lead the Yankees to a 9-3 win over the Angels.

The second homer gave him a new career high with 47 games left to play.  He hit 30 homers in 160 games in his final year with the Tigers in 2009.

Granderson had already long blown past his career high for RBI.  He knocked in four more runs tonight, giving him 91 RBI for the season.  His previous high-water point was 74 in 2007.

Granderson, though, still has a ways to go in runs scored.  Even though he leads the majors with 104 runs scored — 20 more than Jacoby Ellsbury in second place — he’s 18 short of matching his high total of 122, also from 2007.

Besides new highs in homers, RBI and likely runs and OPS this season, Granderson could also set a personal best in steals.  He’s at 22 right now, leaving him four shy of his total from 2007.  He also needs 14 walks to match his high of 72 from 2009.

But tonight wasn’t all about Granderson: Robinson Cano missed the cycle by a single and rookie Ivan Nova improved to 7-0 in his last eight starts.  The Yankees also beat a pitcher making his major league debut for the first time in seven tries.  Granderson’s three-run homer off young Angels right-hander Garrett Richards set the tone in the first, and the Yankees ended up knocking him around for six runs in five innings.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.

Twins’ top prospect Nick Burdi will undergo Tommy John surgery

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Twins’ right-hander Nick Burdi is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the team announced on Friday. Burdi made 14 appearances for Double-A Chattanooga before succumbing to a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is not expected to make his major league debut until mid-2018 at the earliest. A UCL tear doesn’t always require Tommy John surgery — less severe cases can be treated with platelet-rich plasma injections, for example — but Twins’ chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told the press that surgery was unavoidable as Burdi had sustained a “full thickness tear” in his elbow.

Entering the 2016 season, Burdi was widely considered a top ten prospect in the Twins’ system. His exceptional velocity and potent fastball-slider combo made him a fearsome relief option as he came off of his first season in Double-A Chattanooga in 2015. During the 2016 season, however, the 24-year-old experienced a significant setback after a bone bruise cut his season short in late July. Prior to Friday’s diagnosis, he appeared to be staging an impressive comeback with the Chattanooga Lookouts this spring, decorating his efforts with a sparkling 0.53 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.6 SO/9 over 17 innings.

It’s a tough break for the Twins, whose farm system was ranked 21st in the league by Baseball America. “Obviously he’s proven when he’s healthy he’s an absolute premium prospect, and the Twins are treating him that way,” Burdi’s agent, Matt Sosnick, told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. “We just want to make sure everything we do ultimately leads to the goal of getting him back on the field as quickly as he can.”