Phillies sign Humberto Quintero to minor league contract

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From Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com comes word that the Phillies have signed catcher Humberto Quintero to a minor league contract. The agreement also comes with an invitation to spring training.

To many, the move probably seems like a reaction to the 25-game amphetamine suspension handed down this afternoon to starting catcher Carlos Ruiz. And it does work well as one. But the deal was actually finalized before news of that punishment spread.

Quintero batted .232/.257/.341 with one home run and 19 RBI in 144 plate appearances this past season for the Royals before being designated for assignment near the end of June. The 33-year-old then signed on with the Brewers but spent the rest of the summer with their Triple-A affiliate in Nashville, Tennessee.

Quintero will presumably team with Eric Kratz on starting catching duties for the first month of 2013.

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.