Cardinals take early lead in decisive NLDS Game 5 after a David Freese two-run homer

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Cardinals postseason legend David Freese has struck in this loser-heads-home NLDS Game 5.

What looked like a brewing pitcher’s duel suddenly turned into an early 2-0 lead for host St. Louis when Freese launched a two-run homer to left field with two outs in the bottom of the second inning, setting off a round of fireworks at Busch Stadium. Jon Jay drew a two-out walk in an eight-pitch at-bat off Pirates starter Gerrit Cole to set up the big two-run blast.

Freese — including this year’s results — is a .325/.391/.593 hitter in 35 postseason games.

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright has held the Pirates to one hit in his first two frames.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.