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Nationals, Astros each score two runs in first inning of World Series Game 2

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After an impressive win over Gerrit Cole and the Astros in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday, the Nationals went right back to work in Game 2 on Wednesday. They plated two quick runs off of Justin Verlander, staking Stephen Strasburg to a lead before he even took the mound.

Trea Turner led off with a four-pitch walk. Adam Eaton followed up by slapping a ground ball single to left field. Anthony Rendon brought both runners home with a double that clanked high off of the wall in front of the Crawford boxes in left field.

Verlander settled down from there, striking out Juan Soto, getting Howie Kendrick to fly out, and Asdrúbal Cabrera to strike out to end the inning. Now it’s Strasburg’s turn. In four postseason starts this month, he has a 1.64 ERA with 33 strikeouts and one walk across 22 innings.

Update: Alex Bregman answered on the Astros’ behalf in the bottom of the first, slugging a two-out, two-run home run to left field off of Strasburg. Tie game.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).