Mets close to signing Japanese reliever Igarashi

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David Waldstein of the New York Times reports that the Mets are close to signing Japanese pitcher Ryota Igarashi to a two-year contract.
Igarashi is a 30-year-old right-handed reliever who has pitched for the Yakult Swallows since 1999. He saved 37 games in 2004, but has primarily been a setup man since, posting a 2.87 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 97.1 innings over the past two seasons after missing all of 2007 following Tommy John surgery.
Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker put together a detailed scouting report on Igarashi, including the fact that he’s one of Japan’s hardest throwers with a fastball that reaches the upper-90s. According to Newman he also features a hard splitter with the occasional slider, but has spotty control. No word yet on the monetary details, but based on his track record, stuff, and the two-year deal it looks like the Mets view Igarashi as a late-inning setup option in front of closer Francisco Rodriguez.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.