Matt Holliday and David Freese like to play squash

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Or: how you know that the offseason has dragged on long enough: 863 words on Matt Holliday and David Freese playing squash:

Looking for a competitive alternative to add to their offseason workouts this winter, Freese and Holliday found squash. A cousin of racquetball, the game features a smaller ball with less bounce and tends to have longer rallies and heightened strategy. The game scratched an itch that weightlifting, for example, did not.

They could keep score.

“It’s fun,” Holliday said. “It’s better than running cones.”

In all seriousness, it’s an interesting article. You see a lot of things about ballplayers’ offseason activities, but they tend to be little bullet points in a notes column (“David Eckstein has taken up line dancing …”).  Derrick Goold’s story about the squash is actually a fun read.

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.