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Hyun-Jin Ryu pitches a gem, Dodgers defeat Braves 6-0 in NLDS Game 1

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Clayton Kershaw didn’t start Game 1 of the NLDS for the Dodgers. No problem. The Dodgers gave the nod to Hyun-Jin Ryu, who went out and twirled a gem against the Braves on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium as his team won 5-0, taking a 1-0 series lead.

Ryu was staked to a lead early as Joc Pederson led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run off of Mike Foltynewicz. Max Muncy tacked on a three-run homer in the second. That was more than enough offense. Enrique Hernández added a solo homer in the sixth off of Brad Brach to make it 5-0. David Freese knocked in one more run just for good measure in the eighth with a sacrifice fly.

Ryu pitched seven stress-free innings, yielding just four hits with no walks and eight strikeouts on 104 pitches. The most the Braves threatened was putting runners on first and second base with two outs in the fifth, but Ryu got out of that by getting Kurt Suzuki to fly out.

Fellow lefty Caleb Ferguson took over in the eighth, setting the Braves down in 1-2-3 fashion, getting Charlie Culberson to ground out, then fanning Lane Adams and Ronald Acuña. Staying with the lefty theme, manager Dave Roberts sent Alex Wood out to the mound for the ninth. He got Johan Camargo to fly out, then Freddie Freeman to strike out. The Braves still kept hope alive as Nick Markakis and Tyler Flowers both singled. Roberts came out and called on his first right-hander of the night, bringing in Dylan Floro. Floro got Ozzie Albies to ground out to end the game in a 6-0 victory.

Funnily enough, the Braves out-hit the Dodgers six to five. The Dodgers, however, out-walked the Braves eight to none.

The Dodgers and Braves return to the battlefield on Firday night with a 9:37 PM ET start, broadcast on FS1. Kershaw will oppose Aníbal Sánchez.

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.