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Astros’, Nationals’ offenses get to work in first inning of World Series Game 6

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The Nationals played some small ball to take an early 1-0 lead over Justin Verlander and the Astros in Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night in Houston. Trea Turner led off with an infield single to third base. He was initially called out but replay review overturned the ruling and rightfully gave him his base hit. Adam Eaton then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Turner to second base. Anthony Rendon followed up by poking a ground ball single up the middle to plate Turner, breaking the scoreless tie. Verlander escaped the inning without any further damage.

As we highlighted earlier, the first inning has been tricky for Verlander this postseason. If the trend continues, Verlander should be able to correct course from here. The Nationals may be kicking themselves for not doing more early damage.

The Astros answered back in a big way in the bottom half of the first against Stephen Strasburg. George Springer led off with a roaring line drive double off the top of the high wall in left field, then moved to third base on a wild pitch. José Altuve brought Springer home on a sacrifice fly to tie the game up at 1-1.

Strasburg was trying to find his way out of the first inning but Alex Bregman took him yard with the bases empty and two outs to give the Astros a 2-1 lead. Yuli Gurriel stepped to the plate next and nearly hit a solo homer of his own, but it was caught up against the wall just to the right of the Crawford Boxes by Juan Soto, ending the first inning.

Reds sign Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal

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The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a multi-year deal. That’s the report from C. Trent Rosecrans and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Jon Morosi of MLB.com was the first to report the Reds as frontrunners. The deal is pending a physical. UPDATE: The deal is four years. Financial terms have yet to be reported.

With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.

Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.

Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.