Two minor leaguers suspended

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Normally these drug suspensions are about the least substantial things we cover. But on “player X avoids arbitration with a one year deal” day, this is big news, my friends:

Oakland Athletics Minor League right-handed pitcher Gary Daley Jr. has been suspended for 50 games without pay after testing positive for Methylphenidate.  The suspension of Daley, who is currently on the roster of the Double-A Midland RockHounds, will be effective at the start of next season.

Man, “Methylphenidate: is a big word. Fifteen letters! I bet no one can top that!

Free agent Minor League first baseman Austin Gallagher has been suspended for 50 games without pay after testing positive for Methylhexaneamine.  The suspension of Gallagher will be effective immediately upon his signing with another Major League organization.

I stand corrected.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.