Incredible. Just incredible.
Drew Storen took the mound in the top of the ninth with a 7-5 lead and needed just three outs for the Nationals to advance to the NLCS. But the Cardinals fought back by scoring four runs to take a 9-7 lead. Nationals Park was completely juiced going into the inning, but it is now in stunned silence.
Storen gave up a leadoff double to Carlos Beltran before Matt Holliday grounded out and Allen Craig struck out swinging. However, Yadier Molina and David Freese walked to load the bases before Daniel Descalso singled off the glove off shortstop Ian Desmond to drive in two runs. After Descalso stole second base, Pete Kozma then doubled into right field to score two more. The Cardinals were down to their last strike twice during the incredible rally. Sound familiar?
After being down 6-0 through three innings, the Cardinals are now just three outs away from advancing to the NLCS.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.