Giants take a 2-0 lead in the second inning of NLCS Game 1

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The Giants loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright and were able to push across two runs to take an early lead in the opener of the NLCS.

Pablo Sandoval led off the frame with a double to right field which was very nearly caught by Randal Grichuk in right field. Wainwright then walked Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt dropped a single in front of left fielder Matt Holliday to load the bases. After Brandon Crawford struck out, Travis Ishikawa blooped an RBI single down the right field line, out of the reach of a triangle of Cardinal defenders.

Wainwright was nearly out of the jam after getting Madison Bumgarner — who hit two grand slams during the regular season — to line out to shortstop. However, another run scored when third baseman Matt Carpenter was unable to cleanly field a Gregor Blanco grounder. Joe Panik, the eighth batter of the inning, hit a sharp grounder back to Wainwright for the 1-3 out to end the frame.

Wainwright struggled in his previous start in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings. He complained of elbow discomfort, but went out of his way recently to allay any concerns that he may be in poor health.

Freddie Freeman has elbow surgery

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Freddie Freeman‘s elbow began barking in the second half of the season and he was a shadow of himself in the month of September. The Braves rested him for half a minute in the season’s final week but he still played 158 games in 2019. They said he was good to go for the NLDS but he was clearly limited, going 4-for-22 in the Braves’ series loss to the Cardinals.

Today the Braves announced that Freeman underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow on Wednesday. The team said today that the procedure involved the removal of three fragmented loose bodies and the cleaning up of multiple bone spur formations.

It’s not clear if more rest down the stretch would’ve made a difference for him — and it’s not clear that the Braves had options at first base for the postseason that were substantially better than even a limited Freeman — but it’s clear that not having Freeman feeling like himself in the heart of the order was a problem.

Freeman is expected to be good-to-go for spring training.