Carlos Beltran gives the Cardinals the lead in the third inning of Game 4

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Carlos Beltran gave the Cardinals the early 1-0 lead in Game 4 of the World Series with an RBI single up the middle with one out in the bottom of the third inning against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz. The opportunity came about after Matt Carpenter singled to center, then advanced to second base when center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury deflected the ball with his glove.

Buchholz, showing diminished velocity, was able to work his way past Matt Holliday and Matt Adams to escape the frame without any further damage. It will be interesting to see how much more rope manager John Farrell will give Buchholz. He is now at 48 pitches.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.