Red Sox avoid arbitration with new closer Joel Hanrahan

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Joel Hanrahan, who the Red Sox acquired from the Pirates last month, has avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $7.04 million.

This was Hanrahan’s final year of arbitration eligibility and so he’ll be a free agent next offseason, which along with the high price tag and Jason Grilli’s emergence played a part in Pittsburgh looking to trade him. He made $4.1 million in 2012.

Manager John Farrell has already said that Hanrahan, not Andrew Bailey, will begin the season as the Red Sox’s closer. Hanrahan saved 36 games last season and 40 games in 2011, throwing a combined 128 innings with a 2.24 ERA and 128/52 K/BB ratio.

Red Sox end Astros’ 10-game winning streak

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The Red Sox salvaged the final game of their three-game home series against the Astros, winning 4-3 on Sunday afternoon. In doing so, they ended the Astros’ 10-game winning streak.

Xander Bogaerts struck the decisive blow, knocking in a run with a double in the seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie. Michael Chavis also hit another homer — his eighth of the season — while Mookie Betts collected three hits and scored three runs to raise his OPS to .899.

The Astros last lost on May 7 against the Royals, the second game of a three-game series. The Astros won the final game of that set, then swept the Rangers in a four-game series, the Tigers in three, and won the first two games against the Red Sox. It’s their second 10-game winning streak of the season, as they won 10 striaght between April 5-16, sweeping the Athletics, Yankees, and Mariners before losing the second of two games against the A’s in Oakland.

At 31-16, the Astros are slightly behind the Twins — in progress as of this writing — for the best winning percentage in the majors. The Red Sox, meanwhile, have made up some ground after ending April 13-17. They’re now 24-22, good for third place in the AL East.