Jon Niese activated from disabled list for Sunday start

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Mets left-hander Jon Niese was officially activated from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday night and will make his 2014 regular-season debut in Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Reds. Infielder Wilmer Flores was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas in a corresponding 25-man roster move.

Niese is getting off to a delayed start this season because of elbow inflammation that bothered him for much of spring training. He went 4 2/3 innings in a simulated game last week and should be able to throw around 100 pitches in his debut on Sunday.

The 27-year-old registered a 3.71 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 143 innings last summer for New York.

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.