Xander Bogaerts extends hitting streak to 26 games

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Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 26 games during Thursday’s game against the Orioles. He drilled a Ubaldo Jimenez fastball to center field, plating a pair of runs to put the Red Sox on the board, though still behind 4-2. Bogaerts thought it was a grand slam off the bat, but it just narrowly stayed in the yard. Shortly thereafter, David Ortiz followed up with a three-run home run to put the Sox on top 5-4.

Bogaerts is now three games shy of matching teammate Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s 29-game hitting streak, currently the longest the league has seen this season. It also tied Johnny Damon for the fourth-longest in Red Sox history.

Despite how well Bogaerts has been hitting, Mookie Betts has garnered more of the spotlight as he hit five home runs in his previous two games coming into tonight. Betts is 0-for-2 with a walk as of this writing.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year deal with Astros

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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu is scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.