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Clutch hitting powers the East to a 4-2 win in the AFL Fall Stars Game


Baseball isn’t quite over yet. The league’s top prospects clashed in the Arizona Fall League’s annual Fall Stars Game on Saturday evening, which ended by a score of 4-2 when the East Fall Stars took the lead with an eighth-inning rally.

The Nationals’ No. 1 prospect, center fielder Victor Robles, was crowned the MVP after kicking off the three-run comeback with an RBI single off of Indians’ right-hander Argenis Angulo. From there, things snowballed: the Brewers’ Corey Ray took a six-pitch walk, effectively ending Angulo’s outing, followed by another RBI single from the Athletics’ Sheldon Neuse and a sac fly by D-backs’ right fielder Victor Reyes.

Clutch hitting wasn’t the only feature of the game, however. East Fall Stars’ starter and Pirates’ right-hander Mitch Keller dazzled through the first two innings of one-run ball, as did opposing starter and Yankees’ southpaw Justus Sheffield. Their successors — Sandy Alcantara and Tanner Scott, respectively — did them one better, holding their respective opponents scoreless through the fourth.

In the fifth inning, something had to give, and that something turned out to be Adbert Alzolay’s fastball. Padres’ shortstop Luis Urias pounced on a 3-1 pitch left high in the zone, riding it for a deep home run to take the lead. It was the first and last time the West Fall Stars would hold a lead all evening.

Following Urias’ home run and the East Fall Stars’ subsequent rally, Giants’ righty Tyler Cyr returned to close out the ninth inning. He induced a ground out from Andrew Knizner, then caught Braden Bishop swinging at a low changeup and retired Nicky Lopez with a game-ending line out.

With the conclusion of the Fall Stars Game, Arizona Fall League competitors are looking at just nine more games before the Championship Game kicks off at Scottsdale Stadium on November 18. Game time is set for 1:08 PM ET, with the competitors yet to be decided. The Mesa Solar Sox (comprised of Cubs, Tigers, Astros, Athletics and Nationals affiliates) and Peoria Javelinas (Braves, Red Sox, Padres, Mariners and Blue Jays) currently lead their respective divisions with identical 12-9 records.

Royals sign Clay Buchholz to minor league deal

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Royals have signed pitcher Clay Buchholz to a minor league deal. Buchholz will earn a $1.5 million salary if he makes the club’s major league roster and can earn an additional $250,000 through incentives. Buchholz has an opt-out date set for May 1, which means if he isn’t on the Royals’ 25-man roster by then, he can request his release.

Buchholz, 33, was acquired by the Phillies from the Red Sox in December 2016, but he made only two starts before an MRI revealed he had a partial tear of his right flexor pronator mass. He underwent surgery in April and missed the rest of the season.

The Royals recently lost Jesse Hahn, who was diagnosed with a sprained right UCL. Buchholz would likely be in consideration for a rotation spot if another starter were to suffer an injury. Presently, the Royals’ rotation appears set with Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Jason Hammel, Jake Junis, and Nate Karns.