Cardinals have early lead over Giants in NLCS Game 4

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The Cardinals are trying to get the National League Championship Series back to St. Louis, and they’re off to a decent start here in Game 4 at AT&T Park.

Matt Carpenter opened the top of the first with a leadoff double, Jon Jay followed with walk, and then Matt Adams laced a one-out RBI single to shallow left field. San Francisco retaliated with a run in the bottom of the first, but the Cards answered right back when Kolten Wong doubled to deep center in the top of the second and A.J. Pierzynski drove him in.

Wong would strike again in the top of the third inning, slugging a solo shot over the right field wall. Shortly before Wong’s blast, Matt Holliday raced home on a double play groundout by Jhonny Peralta. It was a 4-1 lead at that point and Giants manager Bruce Bochy opted to pinch-hit Joaquin Arias for starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong to open the bottom of the third. That worked out well, as Arias singled to center and then made it home on a two-out RBI single by Buster Posey. Pablo Sandoval followed with a walk and Hunter Pence drove Posey in for the Giants’ third run through three innings against Cardinals starter Shelby Miller.

St. Louis leads Game 4 by a score of 4-3 in what could be a back-and-forth marathon.

San Francisco has a 2-1 lead in this National League Championship Series.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.