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Clayton Kershaw sets playoff record with eighth home run allowed

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has pitched well this postseason, which seemed to put the nail in the coffin of his perceived playoff struggles. From 2008-16, Kershaw had a 4.55 postseason ERA. This postseason, entering Sunday’s action, he had a 2.96 ERA across four starts.

That narrative is about to reanimate. With a fourth-inning, game-tying three-run home run allowed to disgraced Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel, Kershaw set a new postseason record for home runs allowed, according to Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues. Gurriel’s blast was number eight for Kershaw in the playoffs this year.

Half of those  homers came in Kershaw’s Game 1 start against the Diamondbacks in the NLDS. A.J. Pollock, J.D. Martinez, Ketel Marte, and Jeff Mathis all hit solo homers against him. Albert Almora, Jr. hit a two-run shot off Kershaw in Game 1 of the NLCS. Kris Bryant got him with the bags empty in Game 5. And, in Game 1 of the World Series, Alex Bregman took Kershaw yard for a solo shot.

Kershaw set a career-high during the regular season, yielding 23 round-trippers. Considering that the 2017 season set an all-time record for home runs, that’s not so bad. Perhaps Kershaw’s record also has something to do with the allegedly slicker baseballs used in the World Series.

Ramon Laureano’s suspension reduced from 6 games to 4

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Oakland Athletics center fielder Ramon Laureano had a six-game suspension reduced to four games Friday after appealing the penalty for his role in a benches-clearing brawl with the rival Houston Astros.

Major League Baseball said a settlement had been reached and the A’s were informed of the decision. Laureano was set to begin the four-game suspension Friday night and will miss a three-game weekend Bay Bridge Series against the San Francisco Giants. After sitting out Monday at Arizona, he will be eligible to play Tuesday against the Diamondbacks.

Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron received a 20-game suspension and a fine Tuesday for his role in the fracas at Oakland last Sunday. Laureano also received a fine.

Cintron’s suspension is the longest for an on-field transgression in 15 years, since Texas pitcher Kenny Rogers received 20 games for his altercation with two cameramen in 2005.

Laureano was hit by a pitch from Humberto Castellanos with one out in the seventh inning of Oakland’s 7-2 victory – the third time he got hit in the series and the fifth time overall for an A’s batter. Houston players weren’t plunked at all. He pointed at Castellanos and began exchanging words with a gesturing Cintron then left first base, threw down his batting helmet and began sprinting toward the 41-year-old Cintron.

Astros catcher Dustin Garneau tackled Laureano before the A’s outfielder got to the hitting coach. Laureano is a former Astros player and the rival clubs have been the top two teams in the AL West the past two years. A’s pitcher Mike Fiers, another former Houston player, revealed the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal in November to The Athletic.