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Aníbal Sánchez carries Nationals to 2-0 win over Cardinals in NLCS Game 1

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The Nationals have seen all varieties of wins and losses through their first seven games of the 2019 postseason. There have been shutouts, like their 6-0 defeat in Game 1 of the NLDS, blowouts, like their 10-4 loss in Game 3, and nail-biters, like the stunning 4-3 win that allowed them to squeeze past the Brewers in the Wild Card playoff. On Friday, they marked their postseason campaign with an even more satisfying win, grabbing the series lead with a 2-0 victory over the Cardinals in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series.

This time, the charge was led by veteran right-hander Aníbal Sánchez, who marked his second start of October with 7 2/3 no-hit innings against St. Louis. Sánchez was nearly untouchable, wielding a pitch count of 103 and allowing just three baserunners on a walk and two HBP before giving up his first base hit on an eighth-inning single to José Martínez. Even after that moment — one that was swiftly followed by Sánchez’s removal from the mound — the Cardinals couldn’t catch a break, and Dexter Fowler grounded out to end both the inning and any last-minute rally the club might have mounted.

Behind the combined efforts of Sánchez and closer Sean Doolittle, the Nationals became the first team to allow just one hit in a postseason game since the Tigers nearly no-hit the Red Sox in Game 1 of the 2013 ALCS. The offense propped up the pitchers’ efforts with a pair of runs to get the team across the finish line, too: Howie Kendrick and Yan Gomes orchestrated the first run of the NLCS with a pair of doubles in the second inning, and Kendrick’s RBI single gave the Nationals a little bit of a cushion to work with in the seventh.

With the win, the Nationals take a 1-0 lead in the series, with at least three games still left to play. Game 2 of the NLCS is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, when right-handers Max Scherzer and Adam Wainwright are scheduled to go toe-to-toe at 4:08 PM EDT.

Rockies, Trevor Story agree on two-year, $27.5 million contract

Trevor Story
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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.

Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.

This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.

With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.