Rockies and Reds discuss Huston Street-for-Edinson Volquez deal

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The Rockies might have less of a sense of urgency to get a deal done after acquiring Kevin Slowey from the Twins, but Troy Renck of the Denver Post reported this morning that they have had discussions about a possible deal that would send Huston Street to the Reds for Edinson Volquez.

Street has a solid 3.50 ERA and 170/33 K/BB ratio in 167 innings over three seasons with Colorado, but he’s on the trading block now that Rafael Betancourt has established himself as the closer. The 28-year-old right-hander is due a reasonable $7.5 million salary in 2012 and his contract includes a $9 million mutual option or $500,000 buyout for 2013, so he makes sense for a lot of teams, even with a number of free agent closer-types available. The Reds are currently on the market for a closer after declining Francisco Cordero’s $12 million option in late-October.

As for Volquez, he’s coming off a nightmare season in which he posted a 5.71 ERA and 104/65 K/BB ratio over 108 2/3 innings at the big league level. Still, he’s barely two years removed from Tommy John surgery and is only due a slight raise over the $1.6 million he made in 2011, so he’s an ideal buy-low target for a number of clubs.

There’s a pretty large gap in the salaries of the two players, so Renck notes that the Rockies would likely have to sweeten the deal by covering some of Street’s contract and/or including a prospect.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).