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.

Reds ink Oliver Perez to a minor-league deal

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The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.

Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.

While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.