Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

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The Kansas City Royals — baseball’s hottest team by far — are suddenly back in the thick of the things in the hunt for the American League Central crown.

James Shields looked ace-like in Saturday’s 5-0 blanking of the Giants, allowing just four hits (and no runs) over nine innings while striking out five for his first shutout since September 2012. And outfielder Alex Gordon, the second-best player in the game this season according to FanGraphs’ WAR, went 2-for-4 with a homer, a single, and two runs scored.

The Royals are 9-1 since July 30 and a mere 1 1/2 games back of Detroit in the AL Central standings.

If the 2014 season ended today, it would be Anaheim hosting Kansas City in the AL Wild Card Game.

Your box scores and recaps from Saturday …

Indians 3, Yankees 0

Tigers 2, Blue Jays 3 (10 innings)

Cardinals 3, Orioles 10

Rays 4, Cubs 0

Padres 2, Pirates 1

Giants 0, Royals 5

Dodgers 1, Brewers 4

Marlins 4, Reds 3

Rangers 3, Astros 8

Mets 2, Phillies 1 (11 innings)

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 14

Twins 4, Athletics 9

White Sox 2, Mariners 1 (10 innings)

Nationals 4, Braves 1 (11 innings)

Red Sox 4, Angels 5 (19 innings)

Report: Nationals sign reliever Brandon Kintzler to a two-year deal

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Both a Kinsler and a Kintzler made headlines at the Winter Meetings. After the Angels acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Tigers, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Nationals have inked reliever Brandon Kintzler to a two-year contract, pending a physical.

Kintzler, 33, spent the latter half of his 2017 campaign with the Nationals after the Twins traded him. Between both clubs, he put up an aggregate 3.03 ERA with 29 saves and a 39/16 K/BB ratio in 71 1/3 innings.

Sean Doolittle will handle save situations for the Nationals. Kintzler and Ryan Madson will bridge the gap to him in the seventh and eighth innings.