The Cardinals pull ahead in Game 6 with a big third inning

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Post-season legend Carlos Beltran staked the Cardinals to an early lead in the top of the third with a line drive RBI single to center against Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw. The opportunity was set up by Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter, who worked an 11-pitch at-bat — including seven consecutive foul balls — against Kershaw before lacing a double down the right field line. Beltran went ahead in the count 2-1 before taking a fastball back up the middle. He advanced to second on the play.

After Matt Holliday struck out, Yadier Molina kept the rally going, lining a Kershaw curve to left-center for an RBI single, pushing the Cardinal lead to 2-0. Kershaw then fell behind David Freese, who singled up the middle. Matt Adams drew a walk to load the bases. Shane Robinson — starting in place of the besieged Jon Jay — hit a seeing-eye single to right field, scoring Molina to push it to 4-0.

The Cardinals made Kershaw labor in the third, seeing a total of 48 pitches. They saw 18 and 15 pitches in the first and second innings, respectively. The Dodgers certainly didn’t expect their ace to need 81 pitches to get through three innings.

With a 3-2 series lead in the NLCS, the Cardinals are enjoying how Game 6 has gone thus far.

Dodgers, Cubs could be interested in Justin Verlander

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.

The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.

Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.

We wait see.

A 30-year-old rookie won his major league debut

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The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.

That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.

Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.