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James Paxton throws 12-strikeout gem vs. Red Sox

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Yankees starter James Paxton wasn’t off to a great start to the 2019 season after coming to the Bronx from the Mariners in an offseason trade. Despite his first two starts coming against the lowly Orioles, Paxton carried a 6.00 ERA across 15 innings prior to Tuesday night’s start against the Red Sox. His numbers are now looking much healthier.

Paxton tossed eight shutout innings against the Red Sox, limiting the opposition to just two hits and a walk while striking out 12 batters. It’s the second time in Paxton’s career he’s reached the 12-strikeout threshold, previously fanning 16 batters on May 2 last year against the Athletics. The lefty tossed eight-plus shutout innings on five previous occasions in his career spanning 106 starts.

The Yankees went on to defeat the Red Sox 8-0, with Joe Harvey finishing out the game in the ninth. After Tuesday’s effort, Paxton’s ERA now stands at a much more appealing 3.91 with 31 strikeouts and seven walks across 23 innings.

The reigning World Series champion Red Sox are now 6-12 to start the season. That is, ah, not great.

Nelson Cruz hits 400th career home run

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Twins DH Nelson Cruz hit his 400th career home run, a solo home run in the fourth inning of Sunday’s game against the Royals. The blast padded the Twins’ lead to 8-6, and was also No. 40 on the season for Cruz.

Cruz, 39, is the 57th member of the 400-homer club. He was previously tied with Andres Galarraga and Al Kaline at 399. Cruz has hit 163 of his homers with the Mariners, 157 with the Rangers, and 40 each with the Orioles and Twins.

Cruz entered Sunday batting .300/.383/.624 with 104 RBI in 500 plate appearances. Pretty good production for the Twins from a slugger on a one-year, $14.3 million contract. The Twins hold a $12 million club option for 2020 as well.