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Brett Anderson rejoins Oakland Athletics on minor league deal

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Brett Anderson has agreed to a minor league deal to rejoin the Oakland Athletics, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Anderson was primarily a starter for the A’s in his first stint with the team from 2009 to 2013.

The 30-year-old left-hander had a 6.34 ERA and a 4-4 record in 13 starts last year for the Chicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays, who acquired him on Aug. 15. He signed a $3.5 million, one-year contract with the Cubs during the 2016 offseason.

Anderson has dealt with several injuries during eight big league seasons and was limited to six starts with Chicago because of a lower-back strain before being designated for assignment on July 26.

Anderson also was sidelined for much of the 2016 season because of surgery for a bulging disk in his back and a blister on his pitching hand.

He was 10-9 with a 3.69 ERA in a career-high 31 starts in 2015, helping the Los Angeles Dodgers win the third of four straight National League West titles.

Anderson is 42-47 with a 4.04 ERA in 128 starts and 12 relief appearances with Oakland, the Colorado Rockies (2014), the Dodgers (2015-16), the Cubs and Toronto.

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New York Yankees hit 5 homers in inning for first time in franchise history

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NEW YORK — The Yankees hit five home runs in an inning for the first time in their history.

Brett Gardner, DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit homered on consecutive pitches in the fourth inning from Toronto’s Chase Anderson on Thursday night. Voit’s home run was his major league-leading 20th.

Aaron Hicks struck out, and Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres followed with home runs that gave the Yankees a 9-2 lead and chased Anderson. They went on to win 10-7.

The Yankees are the seventh team in MLB history to hit five home runs in an inning. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, they’re the second team to do it off one pitcher — the Washington Nationals did it in 2017 against Michael Blazek and the Brewers.

Gary Sanchez hit a solo shot in the seventh to give the Yankees six homers on the night and 19 homers in the three-game series. According to Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the most in a series of any length in MLB history, passing the 1963 Twins, who hit 17 homers in a four-game series against the Washington Senators.

The 19 homers also are the most in any three-game span in MLB history, according to Elias.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Chicago White Sox beat Minnesota Twins to clinch American League playoff spot

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CHICAGO — If the Chicago White Sox thought ahead to the day their rebuilding plan would come together, they could not have envisioned what the scene looked like. But they will take it.

Riding the mix of power and athleticism that has fueled Chicago’s sudden rise to the top of the American League, the White Sox came from behind to beat the Minnesota Twins 4-3 on a chilly day on the South Side on Thursday. In doing so, Chicago became the American League’s first team to clinch a spot in this season’s expanded playoff field. The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched a spot in the National League bracket on Wednesday.

Fittingly, it was Jose Abreu who fueled the win, further adding to his burgeoning case for AL MVP consideration. His 17th homer to left field in the fourth tied the game at 1-apiece and sparked a roar from the White Sox’s dugout that echoed through empty Guaranteed Rate Field before synthetic crowd noise joined the celebration.

The homer gave Abreu 50 RBIs in Chicago’s 50 games, as he became the first player in the majors to reach 50 and the first player to do it in 50 games since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2013. Abreu tied the game again in the seventh, this time legging out an infield single to plate Jarrod Dyson from third. That set up the winner, a line drive double to left by Eloy Jimenez to score pinch runner Yolmer Sanchez.

“For me, that was a really special moment,” Jimenez said. “It’s really fun, you know. At the beginning of the year, I would have been disappointed if we didn’t make the playoffs. Now, we’ve made it, and we have to continue to play hard and win our division.”

From there, the Chicago bullpen took it to the finish line, with Alex Colome retiring pinch hitter Williams Astudillo on a fly to center to end it. With the last out, the White Sox had made the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

“Everybody in there is extremely happy,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work over the years. Hopefully, it’s just a first step, and we continue to move forward.”

But like so many things with this odd 2020 season, it didn’t feel like the White Sox had clinched anything. They lined up and shook hands after the game, not unlike how they would after a normal win. There was a minor bout of celebrating in the dugout. The cardboard cutouts in the stands wavered in the stiff breeze. The, everyone adjourned to clubhouse for showers and Zoom calls conducted with interviewers and interviewees alike clad in face masks.

“Trust me,” Renteria said. “Behind the mask, I’m smiling ear to ear.”

Still, while they could not have foreseen that the circumstances would be so odd, this was the day the White Sox hoped for when, led by general manager Rick Hahn, they embarked on a full-on reset of the organization, starting with the blockbuster trade that sent former Chicago ace Chris Sale to the Red Sox.

What was already a four-year streak of losing seasons stretched to seven, including the franchise’s first 100-loss season in nearly 50 years in 2018. But this season, the White Sox have emerged as one of baseball’s most potent offensive teams and head into the stretch run with the AL’s best record (33-17).

There through it all has been Abreu, who signed with Chicago out of Cuba in 2014. He led the AL in RBIs last season and on Thursday became the third White Sox player to drive in at least 50 in each of his first seven seasons with the club, joining Ray Durham and Willie Kamm.

Still, in the first season of Chicago’s window of contention, the players know better than anyone that Thursday was but a first step.

“It was just a big hug [when I saw Abreu],” said shortstop Tim Anderson, who has also been with the White Sox for the bulk of the rebuild. “He’s been here longer than me, but we’ve been here, and our hard work paid off. We’re headed in right direction, but we’ve got to keep going.”

There were no fans at Guaranteed Rate Field to see it. Only the players and coaches, a smattering of ballpark officials and stadium employees, a few members of the media. In a pandemic-free universe, the park would have been packed, but then again, the White Sox would have 150 games behind them and but five playoff spots to pursue. There is plenty left to prove.

“We’re not done,” Renteria said. “This is just one phase of it. Hopefully, we’re continuing to be better.”

Still, the destination is the one the organization aimed for: The White Sox are returning to October baseball.

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Minnesota Twins’ Josh Donaldson ejected for kicking dirt at plate after homer

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CHICAGO — Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.

Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

With Minnesota trailing 3-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 AL MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.

Manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.

Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.

Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.

“We need Josh on the field, out there playing, and at third base,” Baldelli said. “That’s when we’re at our best. And so that’s really the end of it. I think we can move past it at his point, and go from here.”

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