Mitch Maier takes mound, shuts down the Indians for an inning

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Mitch Maier got the start in center field for the Royals on Sunday with Lorenzo Cain on the DL, but he finished the game on the mound, throwing a scoreless ninth inning in a 13-7 loss to the Indians.

It was Maier’s second career relief appearance and both have resulted in scoreless innings. Maier, who was drafted in the first round as a catcher before moving to the outfield, topped out at 78 mph on the gun.  He gave up a one-out single to Michael Brantley, but Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a double-play ball to end the inning.

No word yet on Maier feels about pitching, but he’s probably just happy getting into games. Last year, he spent the entire season on the Kansas City roster, yet he got just 95 at-bats as the team’s fourth outfielder. His start in center today was his second of this season.

Astros name Justin Verlander ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, the team crowned ace Justin Verlander the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.