Giants bring back Travis Ishikawa

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First baseman Travis Ishikawa opted for free agency after being dropped by the Pirates earlier this week and now he’s found a new home, signing a minor-league deal with the Giants.

Ishikawa is returning to his original team. He was drafted by the Giants in 2002 and spent a decade in the organization, logging a bunch of time in the minors and a total of 665 plate appearances spread over brief stints in the majors.

Brandon Belt is entrenched as the Giants’ starting first baseman now and light-hitting, defensive-minded first basemen aren’t particularly great bench options, but Ishikawa could find his way back to San Francisco at some point this season.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. saved by the ivy

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The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.

After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.

Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.