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The Top 25 Baseball Stories of 2016 — Full Countdown

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Over the past few days we’ve counted down the Top 25 Baseball Stories of 2016. In case you missed a few entries, here they all are:

1. The Chicago Cubs break the curse and win it all
2. Jose Fernandez killed in a boating accident
3. Vin Scully calls his final game
4. David Ortiz’s historic farewell season
5. Alex Rodriguez’s career comes to an end. Probably.
6. Ken Griffey Jr. gets a record 99.3% of the Hall of Fame vote
7. Baseball gets a new Collective Bargaining Agreement
8. The Year of the Reliever 
9. Bryce Harper ties to Make Baseball Fun Again
10. Aroldis Chapman gets baseball’s first domestic violence suspension 
11. The Drake LaRoche Sage tears the White Sox apart
12. Tim Tebow plays baseball
13. Ichiro becomes the All-Time Hit King
14. Bartolo Colon hits a homer
15. The Jose Bautista-Rougned Odor fight
16. Bud Selig gets elected to the Hall of Fame
17. Yoenis Cespedes shows off his wheels
18. MLB adopts “The Chase Utley Rule” 
19. Jenrry Mejia permanently banned for third positive PED test
20. The lifespan of a ballpark gets shorter
21. Chris Sale freaks out, shreds White Sox throwback jerseys
22. Trevor Story and Gary Sanchez make big rookie splashes
23. A.J. Preller suspended for hiding medical information
24. Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman sue Al-Jazeera
25. Curt Schilling fired from ESPN

I hope you enjoyed these. Thanks so much for making HardballTalk and NBC Sports part of your daily routine over the past year. Here’s hoping 2017 is good to you and yours.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.