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Watch: Masahiro Tanaka helps tie Yankees’ strikeout record

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Masahiro Tanaka saved his best start for last. The Yankees’ right-hander spun seven innings without a run or a walk during Friday’s series opener, holding the Blue Jays to three hits and polishing off his 13th win of the season with a career-best 15 strikeouts.

Tanaka stunned the Jays with 10 strikeouts in the first 14 at-bats, preserving his perfect game bid until it was snapped by an Ezequiel Carrera line drive in the fifth.

Carrera made it to second base on his 10th steal of the season, but couldn’t find a way to come home to score after he was picked off during the next at-bat. Tanaka returned with another five strikeouts in two innings, besting the 14-strikeout record he set against the Rays back in July.

The Blue Jays didn’t fare much better against the bullpen. David Robertson twirled a scoreless eighth and a pair of strikeouts from Aroldis Chapman boosted the Yankees’ total to 18, matching a franchise record for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game.

While Tanaka’s gem stands alone as one of the best performances the Yankees have delivered this season, it also kept the club in the running for their first AL East title since 2012. They stand to clinch the division should they sweep the Blue Jays and see the Astros sweep the Red Sox this weekend.

Giants exclude Aubrey Huff from 2010 championship reunion

Aubrey Huff
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The Athletic’s Steve Berman and Dan Brown reports that the Giants have decided not to invite 1B/OF Aubrey Huff to their 2010 championship reunion, to be held at Oracle Park on August 16. In a statement to The Athletic, the Giants said:

Earlier this month, we reached out to Aubrey Huff to let him know that he will not be included in the upcoming 2010 World Series Championship reunion. Aubrey has made multiple comments on social media that are unacceptable and run counter to the values of our organization. While we appreciate the many contributions that Aubrey made to the 2010 championship season, we stand by our decision.

Huff, 43, was one of the Giants’ most productive players in 2010, batting .290/.385/.506 with 26 home runs and 86 RBI in 668 plate appearances during the regular season. During the postseason, he contributed 15 hits, including a pair of doubles and a home run, while knocking in eight runs as the Giants won the World Series.

In recent years, Huff has become a phenomenon in conservative circles for his outspoken nature on Twitter. Back in 2017, he criticized people who protested President Trump’s executive order on immigration by tweeting, “I mean seriously what the hell is going on? If you have time 2 march, protest and riot. Maybe it’s time for something called a job!” Huff received a lot of blowback for the comment and defended it by bragging to people about his “big house” and “hot wife.” He eventually walked back his comments.

Huff has repeatedly made controversial statements in more recent times, including those of a sexist, transphobic, and violent nature.

  • On the Giants’ Alyssa Nakken, the first female coach in the major leagues, Huff said, “This has #metoo & #BelieveAllWomen written all over it.” He added, “Couldn’t imagine taking baseball instruction from an ex female softball player. [Frown emoji] Have fun with that.”
  • Huff got into a spat with former major league pitcher Seth McClung last year, which included the use of sexist language.
  • Huff boasted about teaching his sons how to use guns “in the unlikely event [Bernie Sanders] beats [Donald Trump] in 2020.” He said, “Knowing how to effectively use a gun under socialism will be a must.”
  • Last month, Huff suggested, in since-deleted tweets, “We should invade Iran and take their [b-word]. Persian girls are hot af without the headgear and you know they know how to act right Makes you think.” He then suggested flying to Iran to “kidnap about 10 each,” adding, “We can bring them back here as they fan us and feed us grapes, amongst other things…. [devil emoji].” After the tweet went viral, Huff claimed he was joking, then posted a poorly-drawn comic about it.
  • In replies to people on Twitter, Huff consistently employs language popularized by the alt-right to insult and threaten people. He has been temporarily suspended from Twitter several times due to his use of hateful and threatening language.

As we have mentioned here countless times, the political views of baseball players tends to skew to the right. If the Giants were simply eschewing Huff because of his political views, they would have a short list of invitees to their 2010 reunion. Huff, however, has repeatedly and consistently gone too far when discussing his viewpoints.

Huff is surely taking this in stride, right? Of course not. Per Berman and Brown, Huff said about his reaction to the news, “Quite frankly, shocked. Disappointed. If it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t be having a reunion. But if they want to stick with their politically correct, progressive [crap], that’s fine.”