Pirates release veteran reliever Juan Cruz

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Juan Cruz was plenty useful for the Pirates on a one-year, $1.25 million deal, throwing 36 innings with a 2.78 ERA and 33/19 K/BB ratio, but today they released the 33-year-old reliever.

Cruz was designated for assignment after blowing a save in Sunday’s marathon game against the Cardinals and cleared waivers, at which point he elected to become a free agent rather than reporting to Triple-A.

Cruz didn’t pitched as well as his 2.78 ERA would suggest, but he’s generally been a pretty solid middle reliever over the years and has a 3.42 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 84 innings since the beginning of last season.

Justin Verlander earns 200th career win

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Astros starter Justin Verlander wasn’t his usual dominant self on Sunday against the Athletics, but he was good enough to get the win. In doing so, he earned the 200th win of his career, becoming the 117th member of the 200-win club.

Verlander went 5 1/3 innings, yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts. On the season, Verlander is now 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA and a 223/29 K/BB ratio in 169 2/3 innings. Sunday’s win helped the Astros stave off the surging A’s. The Astros now have a one-game lead in the AL West.

Only two active pitchers have more wins than Verlander: Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (244). Zack Greinke will likely be the next member of the 200-win club as he currently has 184 to his name.