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Cardinals trample Braves 13-1 in Game 5, advance to NLCS

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Game 5 of the NLDS could not have gone better for the Cardinals and could not have gone worse for the Braves. The Cardinals hung a 10-spot in the top of the first inning against starter Mike Foltynewicz and Max Fried, who tried and failed to put out Folty’s fire. The Cardinals ultimately won 13-1, earning their way into the NLCS. They will await the winner of tonight’s Nationals-Dodgers NLDS Game 5.

For a play-by-play of the first inning, I went over that here. The Cardinals continued to tack on runs, scoring once in the second inning on a Paul DeJong double, and twice in the third inning on RBI singles by Harrison Bader and DeJong.

Starter Jack Flaherty was excellent. There were only two blemishes on his record: serving up a solo homer to Josh Donaldson in the fourth, and hitting Ronald Acuña Jr. with a fastball in the fifth. The Cardinals and Braves have been chippy with one another in part due to a perceived slight on Acuña’s part. Fortunately, that was the end of it.

Flaherty ultimately went six innings, allowing the one run onf our hits and a walk with eight strikeouts on 104 pitches. Giovanny Gallegos worked a 1-2-3 seventh. John Brebbia worked around a two-out Freddie Freeman double in the eighth.

In the ninth, Genesis Cabrera took over for the final three unceremonious outs. He got Nick Markakis to ground out and Adam Duvall to fly out to right-center. Pinch-hitter Tyler Flowers singled to left field, but the game mercifully ended when Dansby Swanson struck out, making official the Cardinals’ 13-1 win.

The Cardinals are in the NLCS for the first time since 2014. The will find out their opponent soon as the Nationals and Dodgers do battle in Game 5 of their NLDS tonight. The NLCS will start on Friday. If the Dodgers win, they will have home field advantage. If the Nationals win, the Cardinals will have HFA.

Cardinals-White Sox opener pushed back to Saturday

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CHICAGO — St. Louis’ series opener against the Chicago White Sox has been postponed to Saturday, giving the Cardinals an extra day to recover from a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Cardinals, who haven’t played since July 29, were set to resume their season Friday night in Chicago. But the series opener was pushed back to a straight doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, the beginning of an extended stay in the Windy City for the Cards.

There was no word from Major League Baseball on the postponement, but John Mozeliak, the president of baseball operations for the Cardinals, confirmed the move in a conference call with reporters. Mozeliak also said the team is going to play doubleheaders on Monday and Wednesday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field after the NL Central rivals had a series postponed last weekend.

Two people with direct knowledge of the situation also confirmed the postponement of the series opener against the White Sox. The people spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because MLB had not announced the schedule change.

The Cardinals’ season has been derailed by the coronavirus. Star catcher Yadier Molina and infielder Paul DeJong are among the players who have tested positive.

St. Louis, the defending NL Central champions, has played just five games, winning two. It seems unlikely that it will be able to make up every one of its games that have been postponed during the pandemic-delayed season.

While announcing Sunday night that St. Louis’ series against Pittsburgh had been postponed, MLB said the league and the Cardinals believed it was “prudent to conduct additional testing while players and staff are quarantined before the team returns to play.”