Astros hire Jeff Luhnow as general manager

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According to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, the Astros have hired Cardinals executive Jeff Luhnow to be their next general manager.

Luhnow had been serving as the Redbirds’ vice president of scouting and player development, and was instrumental in turning around a Cardinals farm system that was once devoid of quality depth.

It’s a great hire for the Astros, but Luhnow faces the ultimate uphill battle in Houston.

The ‘Stros don’t have much in the way of promising talent at the major league level and have only recently begun to rebuild their minor league system, which was largely ignored under the previous regime.

As long as the support from new owner Jim Crane is there, Luhnow is plenty equipped to get the franchise back on the right track. But it’s likely going to have to be part of a six- or seven-year plan.

Albert Pujols hit his 597th career home run

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Angels DH Albert Pujols smacked his 597th career home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning during Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays. The blast was off of Erasmo Ramirez and marked No. 6 on the season for the future Hall of Famer.

Pujols finished 1-for-3 with the homer and a walk. After Wednesday’s game, he’s hitting a lackluster .244/.296/.378 with 34 RBI and 14 runs scored in 186 trips to the plate.

Pujols currently ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time leaderboard and is three shy of joining the 600-homer club. He’s currently 13 home runs away from tying Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.

Chris Sale’s streak of starts with at least 10 strikeouts ends

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.

After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.

Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.