So, Jeremy Guthrie was July’s top pitching acquisition

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So far among AL starters anyway.

Jeremy Guthrie couldn’t solve Coors Field, but he appears to have found his comfort zone in Kansas City. The veteran right-hander backed up his eight shutout-inning performance against the White Sox last week with seven more scoreless innings Tuesday in a victory over the A’s.

Guthrie allowed just three hits and struck out eight tonight. He lost his first three starts as a member of the Royals, but he’s now sporting a 4.02 ERA and a 26/7 K/BB ratio in 31 1/3 innings for the club. That puts him ahead of July’s more hyped American League pitching imports:

Zack Greinke (LAA) – 1-1 with a 5.54 ERA in four starts
Ryan Dempster (Tex) – 1-1 with an 8.31 ERA in three starts
Francisco Liriano (ChW) – 0-0 with a 5.65 ERA in three starts
Anibal Sanchez (Det) – 1-3 with a 7.97 ERA in four starts

And all Guthrie cost the Royals was a soon-to-be released Jonathan Sanchez.

Given that Guthrie is eligible for free agency at season’s end, one wonders if the Royals will try offering him an extension before much longer. He was perfectly solid for the Orioles before washing out in Coors Field, so it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to offer him $12 million for two years and see if he bites.

Red Sox beat Yankees 11-6 to clinch AL East for third consecutive season

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The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.

AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.

With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.