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Keuchel, Carter carry Astros to 2-1 AL Division Series lead

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Dallas Keuchel tossed seven innings of one-run ball and Chris Carter provided three hits, powering the Astros to a 4-2 victory over the Royals in Game 3 of the ALDS on Sunday evening. The Astros now hold a 2-1 series lead.

The Astros fell behind 1-0 when Keuchel served up a solo home run to Lorenzo Cain in the fourth inning. Carter, however, kickstarted a one-out rally in the fifth against Royals starter Edinson Volquez when he hit a one-out double to left field after Luis Valbuena had drawn a walk. Jason Castro brought both of them home with a ground ball single up the middle, putting the Astros up 2-1.

A two-out RBI single by Carlos Gomez in the sixth pushed the score to 3-1, and Carter provided additional insurance when he slugged a towering solo home run to left field off of Danny Duffy in the seventh. Carter finished 3-for-3, marking the only time this season he’s had three hits in a game.

The Royals had a few opportunities to score, but Keuchel managed to pitch out of trouble repeatedly. He finished having allowed the one run on five hits and three walks with seven strikeouts. Volquez was on the hook for three runs on five hits and four walks with eight strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Reliever Tony Sipp walked a batter before leaving with two outs in the eighth inning. Closer Luke Gregerson was able to notch the final out of the eighth with a ground ball. In the ninth, Alex Gordon led off with a solo home run to left-center, but Gregerson was able to see his way out of the ninth inning without any further damage for the save.

The Astros will attempt to clinch the ALDS at home on Monday at 1:00 PM EDT. Yordano Ventura will start for the Royals against Astros rookie right-hander Lance McCullers.

Rockies, Trevor Story agree on two-year, $27.5 million contract

Trevor Story
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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.

Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.

This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.

With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.