UPDATE: The Nationals currently lead the Cardinals 6-4 in Game 5 as we move to the bottom of the seventh inning.
Edwin Jackson was called on to pitch the top of the seventh and quickly walked Jon Jay before giving up a double to Carlos Beltran. Matt Holliday grounded out to shortstop to bring home Jay, but that’s all they could get. Jackson followed with a strike out of Allen Craig and worked around a walk to Yadier Molina before getting David Freese to strike out swinging.
The Cardinals have had their fair share of chances tonight, but they only have six outs left to work with.
10:33 PM: The Cardinals tacked on two more runs in the top of the fifth inning to bring the score to 6-3.
Gio Gonzalez completely unraveled in the fifth by giving up two hits and issuing three walks, including one to force in a run. He also threw a wild pitch to allow a run to score. The Cardinals had the chance for more, but Gonzalez got Yadier Molina to fly to to right field to leave the bases loaded.
10:08 PM: The Cardinals still have quite a hole to dig out of, but they have begun the process of chipping away at the Nationals’ lead.
Carlos Beltran led off the top of the fourth inning with a walk and was quickly brought home on a double down the left field line by Matt Holliday. The Cardinals had the chance for a much bigger inning, but Gio Gonzalez got Allen Craig to ground out to shortstop and Yadier Molina to fly out to right field before striking out David Freese to end the inning. Holliday was left stranded at third base.
The Nationals currently hold a 6-1 lead in the middle of the fourth inning.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.
According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.
Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.
While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.
Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.
More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.
Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.