Cardinals strike first in NLCS Game 5 against Giants

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The Cardinals are one loss away from elimination, but they have grabbed an early lead in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Giants.

After tossing two scoreless innings, Madison Bumgarner issued a leadoff walk to Tony Cruz to begin the top of the third. Adam Wainwright bunted Cruz over to second base before Bumgarner walked Matt Carpenter. Jon Jay then hit a fly ball to left field which was misread by Travis Ishikawa for a double (that scoring is generous) and brought in the first run of the ballgame. Yes, Ishikawa’s inexperience in left field finally came back to bite the Giants. Bumgarner got Matt Holliday and Jhonny Peralta to fly out to avoid any further damage, but the Cardinals hold a 1-0 lead going into the bottom of the third in San Francisco.

For what it’s worth, Adam Wainwright has looked sharper so far tonight than in his previous two outings this postseason. He has thrown 27 pitches over two scoreless frames.

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.