Report: Twins chasing Bronson Arroyo for rotation

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The Twins might be about to make one of the biggest free agent splashes in their franchise history. Yes, Bronson Arroyo could be coming to town.

Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that talks are heating up between the two sides and that the Twins have been examining Arroyo’s medical records. That seems like little more than a formality; Arroyo has inherited Derek Lowe’s mantle as the game’s most durable starter, having made 32 starts in nine straight seasons.

The 35-year-old Arroyo, who is likely seeking a two- or three-year deal in the neighborhood of $10 million-$13 million per season, went 14-12 with a 3.79 ERA for the Reds last season. It was the fourth time in five years that he finished with a sub-4.00 ERA and 120-130 strikeouts in 200-220 innings. He fits right in with the Twins’ pitching philosophy of avoiding walks and letting hitters put the ball in play, though he goes about it differently than most; Arroyo largely eschews fastballs in favor of his offspeed pitches.

Arroyo would join a Twins rotation presently set to include Kevin Correia and Samuel Deduno. Kyle Gibson, Vance Worley, Andrew Albers and Scott Diamond will fight for one or two spots, depending on how many veterans the Twins choose to add.

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).