Reds break up Cardinals’ no-hit bid in eighth inning

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Update (9:30 PM ET): Jordan Hicks relieved Poncedeleon to start the bottom of the eighth inning. He got Adam Duvall to pop up, but Phillip Ervin then ripped a line drive single up the middle to break up the no-hit bid.

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Cardinals starter Daniel Poncedeleon made his major league debut on Monday night against the Reds in Cincinnati. He’s pitched quite well, holding the Reds hitless through seven innings. The right-hander has walked three and struck out three on 116 pitches. The high pitch count makes it highly unlikely Poncedeleon will be allowed to finish his no-hit bid.

The Cards’ offense gave Poncedeleon a run of support in the top of the sixth thanks to an RBI single by Yadier Molina. Reds starter Luis Castillo has otherwise pitched quite well himself.

At Triple-A Memphis, Poncedeleon posted a 2.15 ERA with 103 strikeouts and 48 walks in 92 innings. He was selected by the Cardinals in the ninth round of the 2014 draft. MLB Pipeline rated him as the No. 30 prospect in the Cardinals’ system.

A Cardinals pitcher hasn’t thrown a no-hitter since Bud Smith held the Padres hitless on September 3, 2001. The Reds were last no-hit on April 21, 2016 by Jake Arrieta, then with the Cubs. This season has seen three no-nos from James Paxton and Sean Manaea, as well as a combined no-hitter by four Dodger pitchers — Walker Buehler, Tony Cingrani, Yimi Garcia, and Adam Liberatore.

We’ll keep you updated as Poncedeleon and likely the bullpen attempt to navigate the final two innings. I usually use the phrase “navigate the final X innings” when I write these no-hit bid updates, but this time it certainly feels right. Juan Ponce de León was an explorer for Spain who lived between 1474-1521.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.