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Indians strike first, take a 1-0 lead over the Astros in the third

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Mike Clevinger and Dallas Keuchel made it through the first two innings pretty smoothly, but each ran into trouble in the third. Keuchel more than Clevinger as he allowed a run to give the Indians a 1-0 lead.

Houston loaded the bases with one out in their half of the third, with Tony Kemp walking, Jose Altuve singling him to third and Alex Bregman getting hit right on the rump to load things up. Clevinger worked out of it though, with Yuli Gurriel striking out and Mawin Gonzalez flying out. He scared everyone first by hitting a screaming liner down the first base line that had the distance but not the aim and went foul, but Clevinger wiggled out of it.

In the bottom half Yan Gomes and Jason Kipnis each singled and then both were moved up a base when Francisco Lindor sacrified to Keuchel on the mound. The next batter up, Michael Brantley, hit a long fly ball to left center which was plenty deep to score Gomes. Jose Ramriez flied out to end the inning.

We’re now in the fourth and Clevinger is working, just passing 70 pitches. Keuchel has been far more economical — he threw 43 pitches in his first three innings, but he and the Astros are trailing.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.