Billy Butler, Alex Gordon power Royals to victory in dramatic fashion

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The Royals won their fourth consecutive game this afternoon thanks to clutch hitting from Billy Butler and Alex Gordon. Trailing the White Sox 5-3 going into the ninth, the Royals were 18% to win according to FanGraphs win expectancy. It fell as low as 9% when Alcides Escobar flied out to center with runners on first and second for the second out. Butler, though, doubled to right-center, plating his team’s fourth and fifth runs to tie the game.

After Royals reliever Greg Holland retired the White Sox in short order in the top of the tenth, the offense went back to work. With two outs and Lorenzo Cain on second base, right-hander Brian Omogrosso intentionally walked the left-handed Chris Getz to bring up George Kottaras. Omogrosso couldn’t find his control as he unintentionally walked Kottaras on five pitches to bring up Alex Gordon. Gordon swung at Omogrosso’s first pitch, a 91 MPH fastball, and drove it deep to right field out of the reach of Alex Rios, plating Cain for the walk-off victory.

The win expectancy chart from FanGraphs is fun to look at:


Source: FanGraphs

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.