Giants shut out the Cardinals 3-0 in Game 1 of the NLCS

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There was no late rally from the Cardinals this time, as the Giants were able to secure a shutout victory in the opening match of the NLCS on Saturday night. Madison Bumgarner continued his run of post-season dominance, firing 7 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing only four hits and a walk while striking out seven. Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla got the final four outs with ease to seal the deal.

The Giants got to Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright early, scoring twice in the second inning and once more in the third inning. Wainwright, for the second time in two post-season starts this year, could not escape the fifth inning. In 4 2/3 innings, Wainwright allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits and three walks while striking out two. It will be interesting to hear if Wainwright’s elbow bothered him any, as he threw a very small percentage of fastballs (24 of 98 pitches, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports).

Bumgarner got into trouble only once, when the Cardinals put two base runners on with one out and moved both into scoring position with two outs. The lefty appeared to balk during an at-bat against pinch-hitter Tony Cruz, but there was no call and he was able to retire Cruz on strikes to end the threat.

Pablo Sandoval had an excellent night at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 with a double and a walk. Bumgarner set and extended a major league record, as he is now up to 26 2/3 scoreless innings on the road in the post-season, dating back to 2010.

Game 2 continues on Sunday night as Giants right-hander Jake Peavy will oppose Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn.

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.