Chris Carpenter throws five innings in season debut

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UPDATE: Carpenter threw five innings of two-run ball, allowing five hits and needing 77 pitches to record 15 outs. His breaking ball wasn’t very sharp, but overall he looked pretty solid for having not faced big-league hitters in 11 months.

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Well, I guess this is really happening.

As expected the Cardinals have activated Chris Carpenter from the 60-day disabled list and the former Cy Young winner will make his season debut today after undergoing what was initially called “season-ending” surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in July.

Carpenter hasn’t started a game for the Cardinals since Game 7 of the World Series, but is almost fully stretched out to throw 90-100 pitches against the Cubs this afternoon and would be in line to make a total of three starts down the stretch if things go well.

Oh, and he’s also eligible for the playoff roster.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. saved by the ivy

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The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.

After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.

Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.