Brad Lincoln shuts down the Cubs for his first major league victory

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Pirates’ rookie Brad Lincoln threw seven shutout innings against the Cubs today, striking out six and allowing only four hits as Pittsburgh beat Chicago 2-0.

It looked like it would be a no-decision for Lincoln for a while, however, as Tom Gorzelanny and Brian Schlitter matched the zeros.  But then some bad defense struck for Chicago, with Aramis Ramirez booting one with one out, allowing Andy LaRoche to reach. Andrew McCutchen followed with a single, Garrett Jones doubled and, after Pedro Alvarez struck out with the bases loaded, Lastings Milledge drew an RBI walk.

Obviously the high point in Lincoln’s young career, with his curveball working and the sun shining down on Wrigley Field. Not a bad setting in which to pick up your first W.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.