Giants again strike first, but Royals answer back

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The Giants jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning Tuesday before eventually winning Game 1 of the World Series in a 7-1 rout. And they got off to another fast start in Game 2 on Wednesday night.

Giants leadoff man Gregor Blanco finished off an eight-pitch at-bat against Royals starter Yordano Ventura with a no-doubt solo homer into the right field bullpen. It was the first home run to lead off a World Series game since Dustin Pedroia’s versus the Rockies in 2007, and it’s the first leadoff homer from a National Leaguer since Lenny Dykstra in 1986.

But the Royals answered right back in the bottom of the first inning, tying the game 1-1 after Lorenzo Cain doubled and Billy Butler drove him in with a two-out RBI single past Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford.

We may be in for a long night of baseball, with both Ventura and Jake Peavy looking less than dominant.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).