Twins lock up Mauer for $184 million

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The Twins got it done Sunday, signing 2009 AL MVP Joe Mauer to an eight-year, $184 million contract extension through 2018.
The deal, which includes a no-trade clause, averages $23 million per season. It’s the fourth-largest pact in major league history, behind the 10-year deals signed by Alex Rodriguez ($275 million in 2008, $252 million in 2001) and Derek Jeter ($189 million in 2001).
Mauer’s 2010 salary of $12.5 million remains intact, so the Twins now have their catcher under control for nine years, or through his age-35 season. One can’t help but wonder if he’ll still be a catcher then or if he’ll come close to resembling a $23 million-per-year player, but that the Twins were able to retain one of the game’s two-best players is a huge coup for the short-term.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.