Padres sign Cory Luebke to contract extension

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After locking up center fielder Cameron Maybin and catcher Nick Hundley on long-term deals earlier this month, the Padres just announced a short while ago that they have signed left-hander Cory Luebke to a four-year contract extension with club options for 2016 and 2017. The deal could potentially cover all of his arbitration seasons and his first year of free agency.

Corey Brock of MLB.com reports that Luebke will receive a $500,000 signing bonus to go along with salaries of $500,000 in 2012, $1 million in 2013, $3 million in 2014 and $5.25 million in 2015. The club option for 2016 is worth $7.5 million while the 2017 option is worth $10 million.

Luebke only has 157 2/3 innings to his name in his big leagues, but he had an impressive 3.31 ERA and 111/29 K/BB ratio over 17 starts after being moved to the rotation last June. This is a bit of a calculated gamble for San Diego, but with only $12 million guaranteed, it could pay off big if the 27-year-old continues to progress.

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.