Darin Ruf hits a walkoff homer, then gets sent to the minors

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Tough day for Darin Ruf. Mere minutes after this happened:

This happened:

Bummer dude.

Looks like Ruf will start the season at Lehigh Valley. That would seem to indicate an outfield of Ben Revere, Domonic Brown and John Mayberry to start the season, with Delmon Young coming up at some point to either slot into left or to be on the bench or what have you.

Also: with Ruf down, I believe that may open a roster spot for Yuniesky Betancourt. So there’s that.

Tough spring for Ruf, who many figured would make the lineup based on his power potential. But that’s why they have spring training.

Video: Justin Verlander reaches career mark with 270th strikeout

Justin Verlander
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Justin Verlander is approaching the tail end of a fantastic year with the Astros — arguably one of his best in the last decade — and on Saturday, he kicked off his last regular season start at Minute Maid Park with a strikeout, his 270th of the year. While that’s still a few shy of Max Scherzer‘s league-best mark of 290, it was a new personal record for Verlander, who had yet to beat the previous career record he set with 269 strikeouts in 2009.

Verlander’s moment arrived at the top of the first inning on a seven-pitch called strikeout against the Angels’ Kole Calhoun. Cole worked a 2-2 count, then fouled off a pair of 95-MPH fastballs before missing the seventh and final pitch at the top of the strike zone.

Jose Fernandez battled twice as long in the next at-bat, albeit with far more disastrous results. His 14-pitch duel against the Astros’ righty ended when he caught a fastball on his hand and was forced to come out of the game.

After expending a total of 27 pitches in the first inning, however, Verlander returned in the second to strike out the side, then logged another pair of strikeouts in the third. With six strikeouts through three innings, he boosted his season strikeout total to 275 — just a hair above fellow Houston righty Gerrit Cole (and all other AL pitchers), who previously led the team with 272 whiffs on the year.