Cardinals win rain-soaked Game 3 of NLCS against Giants

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It took over six hours — due to a rain delay that lasted more than three — but the Cardinals topped the Giants by a score of 3-1 on Wednesday evening in Game 3 of the NLCS at a wet Busch Stadium.

Cardinals right-hander Kyle Lohse was far from sharp, yielding seven hits and a season-high five walks, but the Giants failed to capitalize on multiple scoring chances and the St. Louis bullpen was again reliable. Jason Motte recorded a two-inning save, needing only 19 pitches to blow through the back and front ends of the punchless San Francisco batting order.

Matt Carpenter hit a third-inning two-run homer after coming in for the injured Carlos Beltran and outfielder Shane Robinson drove in the Cardinals’ third run on an RBI groundout in the bottom of the seventh.

Giants starter Matt Cain was pulled with two outs in the seventh — just before the rain struck — after allowing six hits and one walk. He struck out only two, matching his lowest strikeout total of the season.

The Cardinals will try to push ahead 3-1 in this best-of-seven series when Adam Wainwright squares off against Tim Lincecum in Game 4 on Thursday night. Beltran has a knee strain but might be able to play.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.