Cardinals hold off Giants, claim NLCS Game 1

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The Cardinals overcame a 6-0 deficit to win Game 5 of the NLDS against the Nationals. On Sunday, they found themselves with a 6-0 lead and then held on to beat the Giants 6-4 in the first game of the NLCS.

David Freese and Carlos Beltran hit two-run homers for the Cardinals as they built their six-run lead and knocked Madison Bumgarner out in the fourth. The rout was very short lived, though, as the Giants came right back with four runs in the bottom of the fourth, resulting in Lance Lynn’s removal from the game.

Both bullpens matched zeroes from there, with neither offense able to score. Tim Lincecum pitched two scoreless innings for San Francisco, but five Cardinals relievers threw scoreless innings. Edward Mujica was credited with the victory after striking out the side in the seventh.

The Cardinals have to be feeling very good about the win, with their replacement starter — Lynn was inserted back into the rotation in place of the injured Jaime Garcia — beating the Giants’ No. 2. Now they get to throw Chris Carpenter against Ryan Vogelsong in Monday’s Game 2 in San Francisco.

Nathan Eovaldi to make 2018 debut for Rays soon

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Rays manager Kevin Cash said that pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will join the starting rotation on Monday or Tuesday to face the Athletics, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Eovaldi’s rehab outing with Triple-A Durham went well, even though he gave up eight runs in four innings.

Eovaldi, 28, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had arthroscopic surgery in March to remove loose bodies in his elbow. It’s been a long road back. Knowing Eovaldi needed to recover from surgery, the Rays signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract in 2017 that included a $2 million club option for 2018 that they exercised last November.

When Eovaldi last pitched, he ranked among baseball’s hardest throwers, particularly among starters. He averaged 97.1 MPH on his fastball in 2016. Among starters who racked up at least 100 innings that season, only the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard had a higher average velocity (97.9 MPH). It remains to be seen if he still has that velocity after undergoing two procedures on his elbow.

The Rays will be glad to have Eovaldi back. The club has sustained injuries to Jake Faria, Yonny Chirinos, and Jose De Leon.