Cubs, Darwin Barney avoid arbitration for $2.3 million

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Second baseman Darwin Barney and the Cubs have agreed to a one-year, $2.3 million contract to avoid arbitration.

Barney is one of the worst-hitting regulars in baseball, batting just .208 with seven homers and a .569 OPS last season and .246 with a .628 OPS for his career, but the Cubs love his defense at second base.

This could be a make-or-break year for him in Chicago, because $2.3 million is a sizable jump in salary for a first-year arbitration eligible player and it’s tough to imagine the Cubs wanting to pay for another big jump in 2015 unless he shows some semblance of improvement offensively.

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.