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Carlos Santana’s walk-off homer gives Indians sole possession of first place in AL Central

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Indians first baseman Carlos Santana played the hero on Sunday, hitting a 10th-inning grand slam as the Indians moved into a tie for first place with the Twins in the AL Central. He was the hero once again on Monday, hitting a walk-off solo home run to give the Indians sole possession of first place for the first time since April 17.

Santana was 3-for-4 on the night, singling twice and drawing a walk prior to his fateful at-bat leading off the ninth inning. He worked a 2-2 count against Marcus Walden before depositing an 85 MPH slider over the high fence in left-center field.

After Monday’s effort, Santana is now hitting .286/.408/.531 with 26 home runs, 71 RBI, and 83 runs scored in 503 plate appearances. The surging Indians, meanwhile, have won nine of their last 11 games.

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
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Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.

Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.

Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”

Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.

Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.