Red Sox pick up Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel’s options

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I hope you’re sitting down for this major news, but if you’re not, at least try to brace yourself: the Red Sox have picked up Chris Sale‘s $12.5 million option for 2018.

Sale should finish high in the 2017 American League Cy Young balloting after posting a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio over 214.1 innings this season. At $12.5 million he’s a steal. Even if he falls off big from that next season, his 2019 option at $13.5 million is just as much of a steal.

The Red Sox also picked up closer Craig Kimbrel‘s $13 million option for 2018. Kimbrel was one of the top closers in baseball this year, posting a 1.43 ERA, and an outstanding 126/14 K/BB ratio in 69 innings and notching 35 saves. Kimbrel can become a free agent next winter.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).