Giants strike first in Game 7 of NLCS, lead Cardinals 1-0

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The Giants have grabbed an early 1-0 lead in Game 7 of the NLCS against the Cardinals.

Angel Pagan led off the bottom of the first inning with a single against Kyle Lohse and moved over to third base with an opposite-field single by Marco Scutaro, who now has a 10-game hitting streak during the postseason. Pablo Sandoval then hit a tapper back to Lohse, who couldn’t quite get the handle and had to settle for the out at first base rather than make a play at the plate.

Loshe got Buster Posey to ground out and Hunter Pence to strike out to avoid any further damage, but the early lead for the Giants could be crucial. The first team to score has won five out of the six games during the series.

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.