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Settling the Score: Friday’s results

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The Yankees lost 6-4 to the Rays last night, so the Orioles had yet another chance to gain sole possession of first-place in the American League East. They failed to make it happen.

In front of a packed house at O.co Coliseum, the Athletics topped the Orioles 3-2 last night. Yes, the Orioles actually lost a one-run game.

Tommy Milone allowed two runs (one earned) over 6 1/3 innings in the victory. Yoenis Cespedes, who left Thursday’s game with a sprained right wrist, delivered a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning while Jonny Gomes’ RBI single in the fifth ended up being the difference in the game.

Grant Balfour was pulled from a save chance on Tuesday night, but A’s manager Bob Melvin went right back to him in the ninth inning last night. He gave up a leadoff single to Matt Wieters before getting Endy Chavez to strike out and Mark Reynolds to fly out deep to left field. The game ended when pinch-runner Xavier Avery was thrown out by Derek Norris while trying to steal second base. Chris Davis, who homered earlier in the game, was hitting at the time. Rough way to lose.

The series will resume tonight when Zach Britton opposes Jarrod Parker. The Orioles and Yankees remained tied atop the American League East at 81-63. Meanwhile, the Athletics are in the driver’s seat for the top Wild Card spot at 83-61.

Your Friday box scores:

Pirates 4, Cubs 7

Rays 6, Yankees 4

Reds 0, Marlins 4

Tigers 4, Indians 0

Nationals 1, Braves 2

Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 5

Phillies 12, Astros 6

Mariners 3, Rangers 9

Mets 7, Brewers 3

White Sox 6, Twins 0

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 2

Angels 9, Royals 7

Rockies 7, Padres 4

Cardinals 5, Dodgers 8

Report: Cardinals are scouting Cuban outfielder Luis Robert

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 25: Baseballs sit in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 25, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
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According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.

There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.

Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.

Cubs extend Pedro Strop through 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  Pedro Strop #46 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game One of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.

Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.

The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.

Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.