Matt Holliday comes up big against Junichi Tazawa as Cardinals retake lead in the 7th

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The Red Sox couldn’t hold the tie game Daniel Nava generously gave them after the sixth inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Will Middlebrooks took over at third base and Xander Bogaerts moved to shortstop in lieu of Stephen Drew. Meanwhile, lefty Craig Breslow toed the rubber to start the inning. Important details.

Matt Carpenter led off with an infield single to Bogaerts. Breslow then threw a fastball just a bit too inside to Carlos Beltran, barely grazing the armor the Cardinals outfielder wears on his elbow, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. Red Sox manager John Farrell brought on right-hander Junichi Tazawa to face Matt Holliday, but it went sour quickly. Holliday ripped a double down the left field line. As Nava retrieved the ball in the corner, Carpenter had already scored easily while Beltran motored around third base, scoring just ahead of the relay throw to put the Cardinals up 4-2. Holliday moved to third base on the play at the plate.

Tazawa was able to strike out Yadier Molina and work around a two-out walk of David Freese as Jon Jay flew out to center to end the inning. The Cardinals are six outs away from taking a 2-1 lead in the World Series.

Giants nearing deal with Cameron Maybin

Cameron Maybin
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The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.

Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.

The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.

In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.