Orioles to call up top prospect Manny Machado from Double-A

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Now here’s a surprise: Baltimore is calling up 20-year-old shortstop Manny Machado from Double-A Bowie on Thursday, MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli reports.

Machado, the third overall pick in the 2010 draft, has been on fire of late, going 15-for-32 with three homers in his last nine games. He hit for the cycle on Saturday. Still, he hasn’t been all that great on the season as a whole, hitting .266/.350/.431 with 10 homers and 58 RBI in 399 at-bats. Of course, he was doing that as one of the youngest players in the upper minors — he just turned 20 years old on Monday.

The guess is that Machado will join the mix at third base for the Orioles, even though he’s played just two games there as a pro. The Orioles have mostly used Wilson Betemit at third of late and he’s been producing, but he can play first base, left field and DH. Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis have both been slumping and could stand to lose some playing time. Shortstop J.J. Hardy has been a bit better of late and is likely to remain an everyday player.

Mike Moustakas sets Royals single-season record with 37th home run

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Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.

The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.

Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.

Chris Sale records his 300th strikeout this season

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.

Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.

Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.