Orioles fight back, tie the Royals at 5-5 after six innings

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Update: The Orioles tied it in the sixth after Jonathan Schoop reached on a walk and Nick Markakis logged his third hit of the night with a single to right-center. Schoop stole third and Markakis advanced to second on an errant throw that glanced off of Schoop. Alejandro De Aza brought in Schoop for the tying run when he blooped a hit just behind the pitcher’s mound, out of the reach of a diving Alcides Escobar. We’re tied at five apiece going into the seventh.

Game 1 of the ALCS wasn’t going very well for the Orioles. The Royals jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third inning. The Orioles took a run back in the bottom half of the inning, but it was only the start of an arduous journey back to even footing. Even worse, starter Chris Tillman couldn’t even make it out of the fifth inning, as manager Buck Showalter called on Tommy Hunter to get the final two outs of the frame.

But you can never count out the Orioles’ powerhouse offense. As quickly as the Orioles fell down, they picked themselves back up. The Orioles’ first two batters in the bottom of the fifth singled. After Adam Jones grounded out to third base for the first out of the inning, Nelson Cruz ripped an RBI double off of the fence in left field. Steve Pearce then walked to load the bases for J.J. Hardy. Hardy worked the count full, then took a slider on the inside corner that was called for strike three by home plate umpire Tim Timmons.

Royals starter James Shields saw light at the end of the tunnel, a way to escape the jam having given up just the one run. But Ryan Flaherty wouldn’t let him off the hook that easy. Flaherty ripped a single to right field, scoring Jones and Cruz to cut the deficit to one run. Shields got Nick Hundley to line out to second base to end the inning. It’s a one-run game as we enter the latter half of the ballgame.

Cruz continues his run of success in the post-season. Entering Friday night’s game, Cruz carried a .297/.349/.710 slash line with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 149 post-season plate appearances. As if he needed to do anything else to assure himself a payday when he heads into free agency following the conclusion of the playoffs.

Gallegos agrees to 2-year, $11M contract with Cardinals

Atlanta Braves v St. Louis Cardinals
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ST. LOUIS – Reliever Giovanny Gallegos and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a two-year, $11 million contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could make it worth $20.5 million over three seasons.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.

“I feel so happy,” Gallegos said before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have the word for exactly how I’m feeling.”

He was obtained from the Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in the trade that sent first baseman Luke Voit to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.

Gallegos gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.

His 2025 option price can increase by up to $3.5 million for games finished in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25 and 26-30 and 31-35, and $1 million apiece for 36-40 and 41 or more.

He would get $250,000 for winning the Rivera/Hoffman reliever of the year award, $50,000 for All-Star selection and World Series MVP and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.

Gallegos has a $2.41 million salary this year.

He was eligible for salary arbitration and is potentially eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.