Settling the Scores: Sunday’s results

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The offense continues to pile up as the temperatures rise. Sunday featured five teams scoring double-digit runs as well as three more scoring eight or nine runs. That was highlighted by the Blue Jays, who ran roughshod over the Indians 17-1. Russell Martin, Troy Tulowitzki, and Justin Smoak each homered. Josh Donaldson went 4-for-4 with four runs scored.

All told, 161 runs were scored across the league, only five fewer than the 166 that were scored when I noted it last Tuesday. Baseball Reference hasn’t updated as of this writing (1:30 AM EDT), but the league is averaging about 4.5 runs per game, which is about 0.25 runs more than last season. The league hasn’t averaged 4.5 runs per game or more since 2009 (4.61). The increase in offense is mostly due to home runs. Games are seeing about 1.15 of them on average, up over last year’s 1.01 — the highest rate since 2000’s 1.17 and the second-highest rate of all time.

Despite the offense, Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg stole the spotlight by bringing a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Reds in his return from the disabled list. He had a high pitch count, however, so manager Dusty Baker pulled him with two outs in the seventh and the no-no intact. Blake Treinen got the final out to get through the inning, but Matt Belisle would fork over the Reds’ first hit in the eighth, ultimately leading to their only run. The Nationals won that one easily 12-1. Strasburg is now 11-0 with a 2.71 ERA and a 123/28 K/BB ratio in 99 2/3 innings on the year.

The box scores.

Blue Jays 17, Indians 1
Mets 14, Cubs 3
Tigers 5, Rays 1
Nationals 12, Reds 1
Phillies 7, Royals 2
Red Sox 10, Angels 5
White Sox 4, Astros 1
Twins 5, Rangers 4
Cardinals 9, Brewers 8
Pirates 6, Athletics 3
Mariners 9, Orioles 4
Dodgers 4, Rockies 1
Giants 5, Diamondbacks 4 (11 innings)
Yankees 6, Padres 3
Marlins 5, Braves 2

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He 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 was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.