Giants blow past Cardinals in Game 7 of NLCS to advance to World Series

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The Giants have faced elimination six different times this postseason. Yet they are still standing.

Game 7 of the NLCS wasn’t much of a contest, as the Giants topped the Cardinals 9-0 at AT&T Park in San Francisco this evening to win the National League pennant and advance to the World Series against the Tigers.

The Giants are the seventh team to rally from a 3-1 deficit since the LCS expanded from five games to seven in 1985. Bruce Bochy’s squad have grown accustomed to playing with their backs against the wall this postseason, also rallying back from a 2-0 series deficit to beat the Reds during the NLDS.

The Giants took control of Game 7 early, scoring one run in the bottom of the first, one in the second and five in the third to chase Kyle Lohse and put the game out of reach. They tacked on one more in the seventh when Aubrey Huff grounded into a double play and another in the bottom of the eighth when Brandon Belt homered. Matt Cain clearly didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but he delivered 5 2/3 scoreless innings before Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo finished the Cardinals off.

The Giants pounded out 14 hits on the night, including one from each member of the starting lineup. Marco Scutaro went 3-for-4 with a walk and run scored and finished the series 14-for-28 (.500).

The Cardinals were just one win away from their second straight trip to the World Series after Game 4 last Thursday, but nearly everything went south at the same time. In addition to being outscored 20-1 over the final three games of the series, none of their starters (Lance Lynn, Chris Carpenter, Lohse) lasted longer than four innings. They also committed four errors and allowed seven unearned runs. The Cardinals allowed 10 unearned runs during the entire series, setting a new NLCS record.

The Giants will advance to face the Tigers in the World Series, which will begin Wednesday night in San Francisco. In an interesting twist, the Giants have All-Star Game MVP Melky Cabrera to thank for home field advantage.

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.