Cardinals lead Giants after 3 innings of Game 4


Cardinals lead Giants after 3 innings of Game 4

ST. LOUIS (AP) Allen Craig drove in his first run of the NL championship series and the St. Louis Cardinals roughed up Tim Lincecum early in his first start of the postseason, taking a 2-1 lead over the San Francisco Giants after three innings in Game 4 on Thursday.

The Cardinals, up 2-1 with a potential clincher in St. Louis on Friday, got first-inning contributions from three struggling players. Jon Jay, batting .167 in the postseason, led off with a single. After Matt Carpenter - subbing for Carlos Beltran who tweaked his left knee in Game 3 - walked, Matt Holliday singled to score Jay. Holliday also was hitting .167 for the NLCS.

Craig, 0 for 9 in the NLCS, lined out to center field, scoring to score Carpenter, though Angel Pagan prevented more damage with a shoestring catch.

Early trouble was nothing new for Lincecum - he allowed 28 first-inning runs this season, the most in the majors.

Hunter Pence, 1 for 11 coming in and dropped to sixth from fifth in the order, hit a 451-homer off Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright well over the left field bullpen in the top of the second to cut the St. Louis lead in half. It was Pence's first RBI in nine playoff games.

The Cardinals could have had more, leaving two on each of the first two innings. Holliday flew out to the warning track to end the second. Angel Pagan tripled with two outs in the third for the Giants but was stranded when Marco Scutaro bounced to Wainwright.

The former tow-time Cy Young Award winner Lincecum struggled through the regular season with a 10-15 records and 5.18 ERA - highest among qualifying starting pitchers. He had been much better in the playoffs, going 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA in 8 1-3 innings prior to Thursday. But all of that was in relief.

Wainwright has topped 200 innings in his first season after missing all of 2011 following Tommy John surgery. He hasn't quite regained the form that allowed him to win a combined 39 games in 2009-10, going 14-13 with a 3.97 ERA. He was knocked around in his last start, allowing six runs in 2 1-3 innings in Game 5 of the divisional series against Washington, though the Cardinals' rallied from a 6-0 deficit to bail him out.

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Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility

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Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility

One head-scratcher from over the weekend was the Redskins’ apparent decision to hold on to defensive end Terrell McClain despite the fact that his 2018 base salary of $3.25 million would become fully guaranteed as of 4 p.m. on Sunday.

McClain missed four games with a toe injury last year and when he was playing he was not one of the top performers on the line. Perhaps he will improve in his second year in the defense but his performance certainly didn’t warrant a fully guaranteed salary.

Sunday came and went, and McClain was still on the roster. However, there was a change regarding the eight-year veteran. According to John Keim of ESPN, the Redskins and the player agreed to remove the full guarantee of the 2018 salary and change it to an injury-only guarantee.


The change will help alleviate what could be a numbers crunch down the road. The Redskins normally carry six defensive linemen. They have four keepers in Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee, and Anthony Lanier. They have been trying to sign a free agent D-lineman like Johnathan Hankins and if they fail to do that they are likely to take one early in the draft. That would mean that five of the roster spots are spoken for.

If McClain had the guaranteed salary that might lock him into that sixth spot, leaving Ziggy Hood, a favorite of the coaching staff, on the outside looking in. The removal of the full salary guarantee levels the playing field between McClain, Hood and another possible free agent or draft pick when it comes to competing for that last roster spot.

If McClain loses out in the battle for a roster spot in training camp releasing him would save about $3.4 million in 2018 cap space. However, there would be a dead cap charge of $2.5 million in 2019. If his salary had remained fully guaranteed his departure would have caused a net cap charge of about $2 million.


Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Game 73 Capitals vs. Stars Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 73 Capitals vs. Stars Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Dallas Stars

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Stars will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Stars game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.


The Capitals (41-24-7) take on the Stars (38-27-8) Tuesday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena.


The Capitals-Stars game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Stars
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Islanders game:

Alex Ovechkin -  Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Travis Boyd - Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Michal Kempny - Jakub Jerabek

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Evgeny Kuznetsov (upper body injury), Alex Chiasson, Brooks Orpik (lower body injury)


The Capitals-Flyers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.