Justin Verlander, Victor Martinez

Justin Verlander wins 10th straight start, 22nd overall

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Despite giving up a pair of two-run homers to Shelley Duncan in his six innings of work, Justin Verlander improved to 22-5 by beating the Indians in Detroit’s 8-6 victory on Wednesday.

The win was Verlander’s 10th in 10 starts.  It’s the longest such streak with no losses or no decisions since Arizona’s Brandon Webb won 11 in a row from Sept. 22, 2007-May 15, 2008.

The longest streak since 2000 belongs to Johan Santana, who ran off 12 straight victories for the Twins from July 27-Sept. 24, 2004.

Verlander’s streak doesn’t quite measure up to Santana’s.  Today’s was the third outing in the stretch in which he gave up four runs.  He has a 2.75 ERA in his 10 wins (his ERA was actually lower back when he was 12-5).  Santana had a 1.28 ERA during his streak, and Webb was at 2.58 during his.

Of course, Santana was just flat-out awesome the second half of 2004.  Including his two starts against the Yankees in the postseason, he went 15-0 in a span of 18 starts and allowed just one run in each of the three no-decisions.

It’s clear now that Verlander is going to cruise to his first Cy Young Award, and he pretty obviously deserves it.  He’s overtaken Jered Weaver for the AL lead in ERA at 2.44, leaving him slightly ahead of Weaver and Josh Beckett at 2.49.  He already has the other two portions of the pitching triple crown pretty much locked up.  He has three more wins than CC Sabathia in second place, and with eight strikeouts today, he’s 21 ahead of Sabathia and Felix Hernandez (232-211).

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.

Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.

Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.

According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.

Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.