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Cubs explode for five runs, lead Cardinals 5-1 in NLDS Game 2

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Update (6:14 PM EDT): The Cubs stormed back to take a 5-1 lead in the top of the second inning. Starlin Castro led off with a single but was erased on a fielder’s choice. On the play, Kolten Wong inadvertently tossed the ball into the first base dugout, so Jackson moved up to second base. He promptly stole third base. Miguel Montero worked a walk, then Jackson cored when pitcher Kyle Hendricks — batting eighth — laid down a safety squeeze. Garcia made an errant throw to first base, so runners moved up to second and third base.

Addison Russell laid down another safety squeeze to bring in Montero from third base. Dexter Fowler hit what appeared to be an inning-ending ground ball, but shortstop Jhonny Peralta couldn’t get a handle on the ball. Hendricks scored and Fowler reached safely. Jorge Soler hit the first ball out of the infield, hitting a curve ball several rows back in center field to put the Cubs up 5-1.

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Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter greeted Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks rudely, blasting a solo homer to center field to lead off the bottom of the first inning in Game 2 of the NLDS. Hendricks threw a 1-2 sinker that caught a little too much of the plate and Carpenter didn’t miss it.

Starter Jaime Garcia tossed a scoreless top of the first inning and will head out to the mound again with a slight lead.

The Cardinals took Game 1 of the NLDS from the Cubs on Friday with a 4-0 victory behind a strong start from John Lackey.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.