Astros slaughter Blue Jays, 19-1

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The Astros scored 19 runs in a game for the first time in nearly two years, beating the Blue Jays 19-1 on Sunday afternoon. For the Jays, it’s their most lopsided loss since falling 23-1 to the Orioles on September 28, 2000.

The 2-3-4 spots in the Astros’ lineup — Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Evan Gattis — combined to go 9-for-14 with four walks, a double, four home runs, 12 RBI, and nine runs scored. Correa had two home runs, giving him 20 on the season heading into the All-Star break. Altuve is now hitting .347/.417/.551.

The Astros head into the break having scored 527 runs, by far the most in baseball. The Nationals are second at 483 as of this writing. Sunday’s 19-1 win gives the Astros a  +162 run differential, also now the best in baseball. The Dodgers entered Sunday at +160. At +162 over 89 games, the Astros are on pace to finish at +295, which would set a franchise record. The 1998 Astros, who went 102-60, had a +254 run differential. With a 60-29 record, the Astros are on pace to win 109 games. Not too shabby.

Rays’ Yandy Díaz gets three-year, $24 million deal to avoid arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays infielder Yandy Díaz agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Díaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.

The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.

Díaz has spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Cleveland (2017-18) and Tampa Bay (2019-22). He has a career average of .278 with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.

Acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade on Dec. 13, 2018, Díaz hit .296 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 137 games last season, He career highs with 71 runs, 140 hits, 33 doubles, and 78 walks.

Díaz was the third Rays’ arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal.

Reliever Pete Fairbanks agreed Friday to a $12 million, three-year contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons. The 29-year-old right-hander was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Left-hander Jeffrey Springs also agreed last week to a $31 million, four-year contract that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year-old began last season in the bullpen and transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, and outfielder Harold Ramírez.