Stephen Strasburg gives up first runs with Triple-A Syracuse

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Strasburg Triple-A.jpgShip ’em out of town, says Steve Phillips. Stephen Strasburg yielded two runs — one earned — over a brief five-inning start for Triple-A Syracuse on Monday night, according to Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com.

Strasburg gave up an unearned run in the top of the third inning — ending a scoreless streak of 20 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level. He gave up his first earned run in the fourth inning. All told, he threw 36 of 52 pitches for strikes while whiffing five and walking none.

Strasburg wasn’t perfect, but now owns a 0.39 ERA through his first four starts with Triple-A Syracuse, posting a 27/4 K/BB ratio over 23 1/3 innings. The young phenom has a 0.99 ERA and 54/10 K/BB ratio over nine starts between Double-A and Triple-A.

Goessling speculates that there’s a small chance he could make his major league debut against the Padres this weekend, but still holds true to the more likely scenario of a debut at home against the Reds on Friday, June 4. Don’t know about you, but I’m hoping to be there.

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.