Cardinals answer Giants to take regain lead in NLCS Game 5

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Game 5 of the NLCS has already been a wild, seesaw affair.

After the Cardinals grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning, the Giants answered right back in the bottom of the frame when rookie second baseman Joe Panik took Adam Wainwright deep for a two-run homer just inside the right-field foul pole. According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, the Giants had gone 242 plate appearances between home runs this postseason. The last one came during the NLDS when Brandon Belt homered in the 18th inning against the Nationals on October 4.

However, the Giants’ lead didn’t last long, as Matt Adams led off the top of the fourth inning with a game-tying homer against Madison Bumgarner. I thought Adams couldn’t hit lefties? He now has homers off Clayton Kershaw and Bumgarner over the past nine days. Anyway, the Cardinals weren’t done there. Bumgarner retired the next two batters he faced before Yadier Molina’s replacement, Tony Cruz, pulled a solo homer to put St. Louis back in front at 3-2.

Wainwright quickly found himself in a jam in the bottom of the fourth after Pablo Sandoval doubled inside the left field line and Hunter Pence drew a walk. The Giants failed to capitalize on the opportunity, as Brandon Belt lined into a tough-luck double play and Brandon Crawford struck out to end the frame and strand runners at first and second. With their backs against the wall, the Cardinals are clinging to a one-run lead as we move into the top of the fifth in San Francisco.

Giants sign Darin Ruf to minor league contract

Darin Ruf
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The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reports that the Giants have signed 1B/OF Darin Ruf to a minor league contract.

Ruf, 33, played parts of five seasons in the majors with the Phillies from 2012-16, enjoying occasional offensive success. He spent the last three seasons in the KBO League in South Korea with the Samsung Lions, reigniting his career. Ruf hit an aggregate .313/.404/.564 with 86 home runs and 350 RBI over 1,756 plate appearances.

Ruf joins an ever-increasing list of players whose major league careers fizzled out, then found new life overseas — Eric Thames and Miles Mikolas are a couple of examples. Ruf will hope to prove himself as a big leaguer once more in spring training with the Giants.