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Clayton Kershaw survives the 7th, Dodgers beat Cubs 1-0 to even NLCS

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw‘s seventh-inning troubles have been well-documented. The best pitcher in baseball somehow brought a career 4.79 postseason ERA into Sunday night’s NLCS Game 2 start against the Cubs, which included a staggering 23.82 ERA in the seventh inning of those games. But Kershaw pitched the seventh and survived, helping the Dodgers tiptoe out of Wrigley Field with a 1-0 victory to even up the NLCS.

Kershaw went seven scoreless frames, giving up only two hits and a walk with six strikeouts on 84 pitches. He was pitching on short rest, technically, as he threw seven pitches to close out Game 5 of the NLDS against the Nationals. He last started on October 11, tossing 110 pitches in Game 4.

The Cubs’ best opportunity against Kershaw came in the fifth inning when Javier Baez and Willson Contreras hit back-to-back two-out singles, but Jason Heyward popped out foul to first baseman Justin Turner. The Cubs also had a runner on first base with two outs in the bottom of the seventh when Javier Baez smoked a Kershaw fastball that looked like a home run off the bat but died in the glove of Joc Pederson in deep center field.

The only offense came from Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez swatted a solo home run to left-center at Wrigley Field off of Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks in the second inning. Hendricks yielded the lone run on three hits and four walks with five strikeouts on 91 pitches before giving way to the bullpen.

Closer Kenley Jansen took over in the eighth inning, requiring only nine pitches to send the game to the ninth. He struck out Contreras on three pitches, got Heyward to fly out on three pitches, and then struck out pinch-hitter (and Game 1 hero) Miguel Montero on three pitches. Jansen returned in the bottom of the ninth for his second inning of work. The right-hander struck out Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant before getting Anthony Rizzo to hit a weak liner to Chase Utley at second base to end the game.

With the series tied at one apiece, the two clubs will take Monday off to travel. Game 3 will start at 8:00 PM at Dodger Stadium. The Cubs will send Jake Arrieta to the hill to oppose Dodgers lefty Rich Hill.

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.