Cardinals chase Tim Lincecum, lead 4-1 through five innings

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Adam Wainwright has some more cushion to work with going into the top of the sixth inning.

The Cardinals tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and currently lead the Giants 4-1 in Game 4 of the NLCS.

They got the first run after Matt Carpenter just missed a home run to center field and settled for a double. Matt Holliday then hit a liner to center field which Angel Pagan managed to snag on the hop and make the throw back into the infield. They had a chance at getting Carpenter at the plate, but Hector Sanchez couldn’t handle the throw from Brandon Crawford. Lincecum was finally chased from the game after giving up a two-out RBI single to Yadier Molina.

All told, Lincecum gave up four runs on six hits and three walks while striking out three. He threw 51 out of 91 pitches for strikes. Not exactly the big game the Giants were hoping for. And soon they could be down 3-1 in the series.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.