Report: The Astros are “making a big push” for Cole Hamels

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The Astros acquired Scott Kazmir from the Athletics last week, but they are still thinking big as they make a push for the postseason. According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Astros “remain in the thick” of the bidding for Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels and are “making a big push” to get a deal done.

We heard yesterday that there is “momentum building” toward a trade involving Hamels, who threw a no-hitter against the Cubs on Saturday. The Dodgers and Rangers have been considered the favorites in recent days, but the Yankees, Giants, Cubs, Red Sox, and Diamondbacks are among the other possibilities. Hamels can block a trade to 20 teams and it’s unclear whether he would sign off on a trade to Houston.

Hamels, 31, owns a 3.64 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 137/39 K/BB ratio in 128 2/3 innings this season. He’s owed $22.5 million per season from 2016-2018 and his contract includes a $20 million club option or $6 million buyout for 2019.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).