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Cards face Nats, Strasburg down 0-2

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

After some dominating pitching to open the National League Championship Series, the Washington Nationals not only return home for Game 3 on Monday, they do so with another force on the mound.

Trailing 2-0 in the series, the St. Louis Cardinals will have to get their offense on track against Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who has appeared motivated for October success.

The Nationals have won all three games when Strasburg has appeared in these playoffs, including a start in the deciding Game 5 of the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. And while he did give up two home runs early in that one, he settled down to give his team a chance to rally late.

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Correa hits HR in 11th, ALCS tied 1-1

HOUSTON (AP) In a battle of the bullpens, Carlos Correa felt the greatest relief.

Injured down the stretch and slumping this month, Correa hit a leadoff home run in the 11th inning that lifted the Houston Astros over the New York Yankees 3-2 Sunday night, tying the AL Championship Series at one game apiece.

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Angels' employee: I gave Skaggs opioids

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) The Los Angeles Angels say they don't know whether a longtime public relations official had been providing drugs to late pitcher Tyler Skaggs, as detailed in a report Saturday on ESPN's "Outside the Lines."

Eric Kay, a 24-year employee of the Angels' PR department, told the Drug Enforcement Agency he had provided opioids to Skaggs and used them with the pitcher for years, according to ESPN. Kay reportedly watched as Skaggs snorted three lines of crushed pills in his hotel room in Southlake, Texas, on the night before he was found dead.

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Greinke loses 2nd straight playoff start

HOUSTON (AP) Houston's added ace is still looking for his first playoff win with the Astros after getting taken deep again.

At least the Astros have two All-Star pitchers lined up next after the New York Yankees tagged Zack Greinke in the AL Championship Series opener.

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Hudson earns save in return to Nats

ST. LOUIS (AP) Daniel Hudson and his wife, Sara, tried to plan the birth of their third child around Washington's postseason schedule.

When it didn't work out, he knew exactly what he needed to do.

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Cards say playoff balls traveling less

The St. Louis Cardinals' front office says baseballs have suddenly lost their juice this postseason, supporting a claim from a prominent data scientist that the balls have changed following a historic, homer-friendly regular season.

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said Saturday that St. Louis' analytics department has found the ball is flying 4 + fewer feet on average in the postseason. Players in both leagues have been stunned when hard-hit balls have fallen on the warning track this month, raising more questions about the makeup of the baseballs after hitters clubbed a record 6,776 home runs in the regular season - a rise attributed to unusually far-flying balls.

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Former World Series MVP Freese retires

LOS ANGELES (AP) David Freese retired Saturday after an 11-year career in the majors in which he shone brightest in the postseason, winning a World Series title with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011 when he was MVP.

The 36-year-old infielder made the announcement on Twitter.

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Phils' Middleton made call to can Kapler

PHILADELPHIA (AP) John Middleton runs the show in Philadelphia.

The Phillies managing partner made that clear Friday, a day after manager Gabe Kapler was fired despite resistance from Team President Andy MacPhail and general manager Matt Klentak.

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Qualifying offer price drops to $17.8M

NEW YORK (AP) The price of qualifying offers for Major League Baseball free agents dropped for the first time, falling by $100,000 to $17.8 million.

Determined by the average of the top 125 major league contracts this year, the figure announced Friday reflects a flat market last offseason.

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