Derek Norris makes first career homer a walkoff blast

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The A’s were dealt a couple of very tough losses in the first two games against the Giants. On Friday, Ryan Cook, who entered with an 0.57 ERA, gave up four runs in the ninth to take a blown save and a loss. On Saturday, the A’s rallied for four runs in the ninth, only to come up just short and lose 9-8.

Today, the A’s finally got it done, all thanks to Derek Norris’ first major league homer.

Norris delivered a three-run shot in the bottom of the ninth off Santiago Casilla, giving the A’s a 4-2 victory. It was just the second blown save in 22 opportunities for Casilla.

Norris was called up last week to share time with the struggling Kurt Suzuki behind the plate for Oakland. Today’s start was his third as a big leaguer, but he already has more RBI (four) than Suzuki does in the last month (three).

The A’s comeback ruined Matt Cain’s streak of victories in eight straight starts. No one else has won more than six consecutive starts this season, though R.A. Dickey will go for No. 7 tonight. Cain didn’t figure in the decision, obviously, but this marked the first time since May 1 than the Giants had lost one of his starts.

 

Report: Astros extend Justin Verlander for two years, $66 million

Justin Verlander
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The Astros are in agreement with right-hander Justin Verlander on a two-year, $66 million extension, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com was among those to report on Friday. With no money deferred, the $33 million he’ll receive over the next two years will set a record AAV for major-league pitchers; something MLB Network’s Jon Heyman says matters to Verlander, who “cares how his deals affect markets (and fellow players).”

While it’s far from the five-year, $100 million extension teammate Alex Bregman signed with the club on Friday, the deal will give the Astros a bigger window to consider their long-term plans for the ace before he hits free agency again. Prior to Saturday’s agreement, Verlander’s original contract — the hefty seven-year, $180 million arrangement he reached with the Tigers in 2013 — was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2019 season.

It’s difficult to overestimate the value Verlander has provided to the Astros since they acquired him from the Tigers back in 2017. He was named the 2017 ALCS MVP following seven shutout innings in a must-win Game 6 performance and helped the Astros clinch their first franchise World Series title. In 2018, he earned his seventh career All-Star distinction and received consideration for both AL Cy Young and MVP awards after pitching to a 16-9 record in 34 starts with a 2.52 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, 12.2 SO/9 (the product of a career-high 290 strikeouts), and 6.7 fWAR over 214 innings.

The deal has not been confirmed by the team.