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Mike Moustakas ties Royals’ single-season home run record

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Royals’ slugger Mike Moustakas belted home run No. 36 on Friday night, hitting a franchise record for most single-season homers since 28-year-old first baseman Steve Balboni reached the mark in 1985.

The record-tying dinger arrived in the third inning of Friday’s 7-6 squeaker over the Twins, beefing up the Royal’s five-run spread and giving them a two-run advantage Minnesota couldn’t quite shake. With two outs and two on, Moustakas muscled a 2-2 pitch from Dillon Gee, sending it an estimated 368 feet to right field, where it ricocheted off the railing and bounced back onto the field.

It’s been a banner year for the 28-year-old, who earned his second All-Star distinction and touted a .275/.313/.542 batting line and 35 home runs heading into Friday’s win. He went 1-for-4 against the Twins, putting up three RBI and collecting one strikeout in addition to his historic homer. The rest of the Royals, meanwhile, combined for another four runs, giving them just enough of an edge while Kelvin Herrera and Scott Alexander worked to shut down the Twins’ last-minute rally in the ninth.

Sheldon Ocker named winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award

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The Baseball Writers Association of America has named Sheldon Ocker the winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award. He will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown on July 29.

Ocker began covering the Indians for the Akron Beacon Journal in 1981 and did so until 2013, when he retired. He was national president of the BBWAA in 1985 and served as chair of the Cleveland Chapter 11 times. He named Ohio Sports Writer of the Year in 1997 and 2000 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.