Eric Hosmer homers, knocks in go-ahead run as Royals top Yankees

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Batting third in just his fifth major league game, Eric Hosmer played the hero for the Royals on Wednesday, hitting his first major league homer and delivering a sac fly in the top of the 11th as part of a 4-3 win over the Yankees.

Hosmer’s fourth-inning homer gave the Royals their only run in seven innings against A.J. Burnett. They tied it up 2-2 in the eighth on a Wilson Betemit RBI single off David Robertson, and took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 10th when Jeff Francoeur doubled in Hosmer, who had reached on a walk.

The Royals, though, failed to hold the lead from there. Joakim Soria, not at all the dominating presence he’s been in the past, blew his second save after leaving a curve up to Curtis Granderson. The result was a game-tying RBI single.

But the Royals didn’t just roll over and die, as would have been their habit in years past. Soria got out of the inning, and a walk, a sac bunt, a single and Hosmer’s sac fly put Kansas City back ahead in the 11th.

Called in to pitch the bottom of the 11th was sidearmer Louis Coleman in his seventh big-league appearance. He got a flyout from Alex Rodriguez for the first out and then struck out Eduardo Nunez (who was filling in for the injured Robinson Cano) and Nick Swisher to end the game for his first career save.

Hosmer, who had his best night to date, is 4-for-16 with three RBI and five walks since his callup. His homer tonight was the lone hit surrendered by Burnett, who just hasn’t been getting the typical Yankee starter run support of late.

Soria’s run was the only one allowed in seven innings by the Royals pen. The Yankees had chances to take control of the game early off Vin Mazzaro, who was taking the injured Bruce Chen’s start, but he managed to hold the Bombers to two runs despite allowing six hits and walking four.

Astros’ Verlander to have elbow surgery, likely out thru 2021

Justin Verlander
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HOUSTON — Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and is expected to be out through the 2021 season, ending his bid to make a late return for a playoff push.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1+-minute video.

“In my simulated game a couple days ago, I felt something in my elbow, and after looking at my MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we’ve determined that Tommy John surgery is my best option,” Verlander said.

The 37-year-old right-hander threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.

“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”

Houston manager Dusty Baker said he was hopeful Verlander would return, but he was also fearful of how things were looking.

“I talked to him this morning,” Baker said. “He’s not crazy about the outcome, but it is what it is. He has to get it taken care of. He’s pitched for years. He’s been a warrior and a leader. Hopefully, this will prolong his career, and he can be back to pitching. I always told him he’s a medical marvel, and he’s a great physical specimen.”

Houston general manager James Click said he and Verlander spoke earlier this week about trying to plan the rest of the season if the throwing session on Wednesday had gone well.

“Tuesday, we had long a conversation about what he was going to be able to give, and he was already mapping out `Can I come back and pitch on Monday against Seattle just given where we are in the standings, where they are in the standings?”‘ Click said. “We had a long talk about that. We had a long talk mapping out Wednesday then Monday then Saturday and what that does the rest of the way through.”

“We had every expectation that if things went well Wednesday that we would have a conversation about whether Monday was against Seattle in a major league game or whether it was going to be another sim game against hitters here where we jump through that hoop,” he said.

The Astros entered Saturday at 25-26 and holding the eighth and final AL playoff spot. They were three games ahead of Seattle for second place in the AL West.

The regular season ends Sept. 27.

“First of all, you can’t replace Justin Verlander,” Click said. “No one person can replace Justin Verlander. This is going to have to be a total team effort. If everybody steps up a little bit, your No. 2 starter steps into a No. 1, your No. 3 into a No. 2 and on down the line, we can try to cover that a little bit.”

Verlander is under contract with the Astros through 2021. Click said it was too early to discuss 2022, with the focus being on Verlander getting through the surgery and rehab process.

“As far as next season goes, it makes the offseason that much more challenging, but we have a talented group here, and we will figure something to try to do what we can to put this team in a position to be competitive next year without Justin Verlander,” Click said.

Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He had groin surgery in mid-March and would’ve missed the opener if the big league season hadn’t been delayed because of the pandemic.

When the season began in late July, he beat the Mariners on opening day, holding them to two runs on three hits in six innings and striking out seven.

Verlander went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA last year, striking out a career-high 300 and throwing his third no-hitter overall. He pitched 223 innings, most in the majors, and then made six more starts in the postseason as the Astros reached the World Series.

Verlander is 226-129 with a 3.33 ERA in 16 seasons. He has won two AL Cy Young awards, the 2011 AL MVP and was the 2006 AL Rookie of the Year. He has struck out 3,013 in his career.

After spending his entire career with Detroit, Verlander was traded to the Astros during the 2017 and went on to win the World Series that year.

“Obviously, this is not good news,” Verlander said. “However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m optimistic. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully, come out the other side better for it.

“I truly believe that everything happens for a reason,” he said. “Hopefully, when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”