Cardinals hold off Giants, claim NLCS Game 1

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The Cardinals overcame a 6-0 deficit to win Game 5 of the NLDS against the Nationals. On Sunday, they found themselves with a 6-0 lead and then held on to beat the Giants 6-4 in the first game of the NLCS.

David Freese and Carlos Beltran hit two-run homers for the Cardinals as they built their six-run lead and knocked Madison Bumgarner out in the fourth. The rout was very short lived, though, as the Giants came right back with four runs in the bottom of the fourth, resulting in Lance Lynn’s removal from the game.

Both bullpens matched zeroes from there, with neither offense able to score. Tim Lincecum pitched two scoreless innings for San Francisco, but five Cardinals relievers threw scoreless innings. Edward Mujica was credited with the victory after striking out the side in the seventh.

The Cardinals have to be feeling very good about the win, with their replacement starter — Lynn was inserted back into the rotation in place of the injured Jaime Garcia — beating the Giants’ No. 2. Now they get to throw Chris Carpenter against Ryan Vogelsong in Monday’s Game 2 in San Francisco.

Eric Thames hit two more homers

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And John Lackey is livid.

The Brewers’ first baseman homered in each of his first two plate appearances against Reds starter Amir Garrett on Monday evening, helping his team to a 6-1 lead after two frames. The first was a solo blast in the first inning, and the second was a two-run shot to the opposite field in the second inning.

According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Thames has tied the Brewers’ record for home runs in April with 10. Carlos Lee also hit 10 homers in April 2006.

Seven of Thames’ 10 home runs have come against the Reds. Including his first two at-bats on Monday night, Thames is hitting .379/.474/.924 with 17 RBI along with the 10 dingers. Not too shabby from a guy the Brewers signed to a three-year, $16 million contract during the offseason.

Lackey and Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio both recently implied Thames is using performance-enhancing drugs, but Thames was tested immediately after last Monday’s game against the Cubs.

Giants promote top prospect Christian Arroyo

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Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports that the Giants have promoted top infield prospect Christian Arroyo from Triple-A Sacramento. MLB Pipeline rated Arroyo as the Giants’ No. 2 prospect behind pitcher Tyler Beede and the team’s best position player prospect.

Arroyo, 21, was selected in the first round (25th overall) of the 2013 draft. He started the year at Triple-A for the first time and he hit an astounding .446/.478/.692 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 69 plate appearances to start the season.

The Giants, 6-13, are looking to regain their balance after unexpectedly losing ace Madison Bumgarner, who sustained injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day. Arroyo will likely play third base regularly over Eduardo Nunez.