Clay Buchholz leaves start with hyperextended knee

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Clay Buchholz, a candidate to start for the AL in next month’s All-Star Game, was forced out of his start Saturday against the Giants in the second inning after hyperextending his left knee running the bases.
It looks like Boston’s second pitching casualty that’s a direct result of interleague play. Josh Beckett originally hurt his back last month taking batting practice in preparation for his starts in NL parks.
Buchholz’s injury probably isn’t particularly serious, and it should help that the injury isn’t to the leg he uses to push off the mound. If he does need to miss some time, the Red Sox could bring left-hander Felix Doubront back from Triple-A. Doubront made one start earlier this month before Daisuke Matsuzaka returned from the disabled list.

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.