Yuli Gurriel is at the plate with runners are in scoring position.
Gurriel hit a grand slam in Houston’s eight-run second inning http://www.oaklandraidersteamonline.com/hunter-renfrow-jersey, helping Gerrit Cole and the Astros beat the Kansas City Royals 11-3 on Sunday.
”He just has a knack for really putting the barrel on the ball and doing incredibly positive things,” Hinch said. ”His balance, his bat-to-ball skills, his bat path: Everything lines up when he can execute his game plan and he doesn’t miss pitches.
”He can hit anything anywhere and he usually hits it hard. And that was a big knockout blow for them early in the game.”
Gurriel finished with three hits as the AL West-leading Astros won for the 15th time in 17 games. Jose Altuve drove in two runs and scored twice, and Evan Gattis connected for a pinch-hit homer.
Cole (9-1) struck out eight while pitching five innings of one-run ball. The right-hander has struck out at least eight in 12 of his 16 starts.
”You know ideally I’d like to get a little more length there, especially after the bullpen had to work last night,” Cole said. ”Some of that is out of my control a little bit. So, just kind of get back to the grind and get to the next one.”
Houston loaded the bases with one out in the second, and Tony Kemp brought home the first run when he reached on catcher’s interference on Drew Butera. George Springer then lined out, but Alex Bregman walked http://www.seattleseahawksteamonline.com/marquise-blair-jersey, Altuve hit a two-run single and Carlos Correa walked before Gurriel connected against Jason Hammel (2-9) for his second career grand slam.
”Put guys on base for free and make mistakes and that’s what happens,” Hammel said.
Gurriel also hit a solo drive in Saturday’s 4-3 win in 12 innings. It’s the first time since July 21-22, 2017, that Gurriel has homered in back-to-back games.
”My concentration level definitely is focused when there are runners on base and guys that we want to get to score,” Gurriel said through a translator.
Kansas City dropped to 3-18 in June. Hammel was tagged for nine runs, matching his season high, and walked five in four innings.
Lucas Duda hit his fifth homer for the Royals, and Rosell Herrera singled in a run.
”They have a really good pitching staff over there,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”It’s hard to fall behind that group and battle back because they are so good.”
TIME TO SHAVE
Bregman had been working on a mustache the last few days, but it disappeared during the game. A split-screen picture of Bregman during his at-bat in the second inning and next plate appearance in the fourth showed he had shaved at some point between the two at-bats.
”I don’t pay attention to Alex’s shaving habits during the middle of the game http://www.seattleseahawksteamonline.com/cody-barton-jersey ,” Cole said. ”I did like the mustache. I thought it played Jeff Kent-esque. It was on top of his lip when he stabbed that soft liner in the first inning, which got us out of the jam. So, personally I’m a fan of the `stache. I guess it’s been sent down. It’s been DFA’d and we’ll wait until it comes back.”
Gattis has 11 homers and 32 RBIs in his last 25 games. He has driven in 25 runs in June.
Astros: RHP Joe Smith (elbow discomfort) threw his first bullpen session since going on the disabled list. Smith threw about 30 pitches. He said he felt good and will know more of where he is at depending on how he feels on Monday.
Royals: RHP Brad Keller (1-2, 2.63 ERA) faces the Angels on Monday in a make-up game. Last time out, Keller got a no-decision against Houston in a 7-4 loss on June 17. Keller allowed three runs in six innings against the Astros.
Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (9-2, 1.60 ERA) faces the Blue Jays on Monday. Verlander leads the American League in ERA, WHIP, opponent OPS and opponent batting average.Jimmy Garoppolo’s late-season performance sends the San Francisco 49ers into the offseason with more optimism than typical for a team with a losing record.
Now the most important task of the offseason is locking up Garoppolo with a long-term deal.
”We’re going to work hard to try to keep him as a 49er for a long, long time,” general manager John Lynch said Tuesday. ”We’re really happy with the way he played. We think he’s got some abilities that are unique and we want him here.”
Garoppolo’s arrival totally transformed a team that began the season with nine straight losses under first-year coach Kyle Shanahan and ended it with five straight wins after Garoppolo took over as starter.
He threw for 1 http://www.seattleseahawksteamonline.com/phil-haynes-jersey ,542 yards during those starts and looked the part of a franchise quarterback the Niners (6-10) hoped they had acquired when they dealt a second-round pick to New England at the trade deadline.
”Obviously, Jimmy came in and he was fabulous,” Lynch said. ”He was great for us and he made people around him better and I think that’s the mark of a player who has an opportunity to be special is do you make people around you better? He did that.”
Now Garoppolo is eligible for free agency in March, although he won’t hit the open market. If the 49ers can’t reach a long-term deal in the coming weeks, they will use the franchise tag to lock him up for 2018 for about $25 million.
”I like being here,” Garoppolo said. ”I think we had a good thing going at the end of this year. And we’ll see what happens.”
Here are some issues the 49ers will face this offseason:
HISTORIC TURNAROUND: The Niners became just the second team to finish with a losing record despite winning the final five games, joining the 1989 Detroit Lions. They also set doubled the previous high win total for a team that started the season 0-9, leading to the good will around the franchise.
”That’s why this year was so special,” left tackle Joe Staley said. ”We’re 6-10 at the end of the season, but I don’t think there’s a team in the NFL that would want to see us right now in the playoffs. We just got to carry that momentum in the offseason and continue to work like we did this year in the second half. We’re excited about next year.”
ROARING ROOKIES: The other major bright spot in San Francisco was the play of the rookie class. The Niners got major contributions from several rookies led by first-round linebacker Reuben Foster http://www.tampabaybuccaneersteamonline.com/mike-edwards-jersey, who should be a centerpiece of the defense for years to come. Receiver Trent Taylor and tight end George Kittle each caught 43 passes, Matt Breida was a solid backup running back and safety Adrian Colbert and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon showed signs of being long-term contributors in the secondary.
FREE AGENCY: The 49ers will be able to spend big in free agency if they choose thanks to more than $110 million projected in salary cap room. Some of the biggest decisions outside of getting a deal done with Garoppolo will be about their own players. Running back Carlos Hyde, safety Eric Reid and center Daniel Kilgore are among the most prominent potential free agents. Hyde and Reid had strong finishes to their season and will likely get offers from other teams if allowed to hit the open market. Kilgore helped ease Garoppolo’s transition and the Niners may want to keep him to provide continuity on the line.
GET HEALTHY: San Francisco had 23 players end the season on injured reserve, including several the team is counting on to be healthy contributors in 2018. Linebacker Malcolm Smith (biceps) missed the entire season, along with 2016 first-round guard Joshua Garnett (knee). Safeties Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward went down with mid-season broken arms, and 2015 first-round defensive lineman Arik Armstead broke his hand. Receiver Pierre Garcon also was shut down with a neck injury, along with right tackle Trent Brown (shoulder). Healthy returns for those players could provide big boosts next season.
BREAKTHROUGH SEASON: The most impressive free-agent addition last year for the Niners was receiver Marquise Goodwin, who exceeded his four-year output in Buffalo in just one season in San Francisco. Goodwin caught 56 passes for 962 yards and was tied for fifth in catches (29) and sixth in yards receiving (384) in the final five games after Garoppolo took over at quarterback.