The Royals are in the playoffs for the first time since 1985


Jeremy Guthrie played the role of hero on Friday night, as his seven shutout innings helped the Royals beat the White Sox 3-1 on Friday night, clinching a playoff appearance for the first time since 1985. They will at least show up in the American League Wild Card play-in game.

On the offensive side, Nori Aoki sparked a three-run first inning, knocking in the Royals’ first run with an RBI triple. Lorenzo Cain then singled him in, and Cain later scored on a Billy Butler single. Greg Holland wrapped up the ninth inning for his 46th save in 48 opportunities, as he puts the finishing touches on yet another dominant season.

The Tigers fell to the Twins 11-4, which means they have only a one-game lead over the Royals in the AL Central with two games left to play. The Royals could pop open yet more champagne.

Rays’ Yandy Díaz gets three-year, $24 million deal to avoid arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays infielder Yandy Díaz agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Díaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.

The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.

Díaz has spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Cleveland (2017-18) and Tampa Bay (2019-22). He has a career average of .278 with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.

Acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade on Dec. 13, 2018, Díaz hit .296 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 137 games last season, He career highs with 71 runs, 140 hits, 33 doubles, and 78 walks.

Díaz was the third Rays’ arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal.

Reliever Pete Fairbanks agreed Friday to a $12 million, three-year contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons. The 29-year-old right-hander was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Left-hander Jeffrey Springs also agreed last week to a $31 million, four-year contract that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year-old began last season in the bullpen and transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, and outfielder Harold Ramírez.