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Victor Robles homers in return to lineup as Nats go up 3-0 in NLCS

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WASHINGTON — Victor Robles made an immediate impact in his return to the Nationals‘ lineup.

After missing five games with a hamstring injury, Robles homered, singled and scored twice Monday night as his team took a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven NL Championship Series against St. Louis. The 22-year-old made manager Dave Martinez look like a genius for plugging him right back into center field despite Michael A. Taylor’s homer in Game 2.It wasn’t a debate for Martinez, who said Sunday that Robles would “get a chance to play” over Taylor when 100% healthy. Robles took swings in the batting cage and made it an easy decision.

“He ran the bases [Sunday] and ran them at full tilt,” Martinez said before Monday’s game. “He looked really good.”

His swings against Cardinals pitching looked even better. Robles, batting eighth, lined a base hit up the middle off starter Jack Flaherty in the third inning and crushed reliever John Brebbia‘s 2-1 fastball over the fence in right center in the sixth. He finished the night 2-for-4.

Robles hit .255 with 17 home runs, 65 RBIs and 28 stolen bases during his first full season in the majors. He had last played in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.The Cardinals made only one lineup change after putting up just one run on four hits in the first two games. Jose Martinez started in right field, with Tommy Edman shifting to third base in place of Matt Carpenter.

“Jose has just had good at-bats, putting good swings on the baseball,” manager Mike Shildt said. “Just looking to mix it up a bit, nothing too crazy, obviously. But Jose’s earned the opportunity to get in there and create some length in the lineup and in a spot where guys are doing their part in front of him and he can do some damage.”

Martinez singled to start the seventh inning and later scored on a throwing error by Nationals left fielder Juan Soto. It was St. Louis’ only run on the night in an 8-1 loss.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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MLB widens investigation of Astros’ conduct to last 3 seasons

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Major League Baseball has widened its investigation of alleged sign stealing by the Houston Astros and will probe activity by the team over the past three seasons.

After the conclusion of owners meetings Thursday, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said MLB will “investigate the Astros situation as thoroughly as humanly possible.” The probe includes the team’s firing of an assistant general manager during the World Series for clubhouse comments directed at female reporters, behavior the club at first accused Sports Illustrated of fabricating.

Oakland pitcher Mike Fiers told The Athletic in a story last week that while he was playing with the Astros during their 2017 World Series championship season the team stole signs during home games by using a camera positioned in center field. During this year’s playoffs, Houston players were suspected of whistling in the dugout to communicate pitch selection to batters.

Manfred says “that investigation is going to encompass not only what we know about ’17, but also ’18 and ’19.” MLB is “talking to people all over the industry, former employees, competitors, whatever. To the extent that we find other leads, we’re going to follow these leads.”

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Baseball owners approve Greg Johnson as Giants’ control person

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SAN FRANCISCO — Greg Johnson was approved by the major league clubs as the new controlling owner of the San Francisco Giants.

Following the decision Thursday at the owners meetings in Arlington, Texas, Giants president and CEO Larry Baer will still represent the club at the meetings, along with Johnson and Rob Dean, who had been handling leadership duties since March.

Baer was suspended without pay from March 4 through July 1 after a video showed him in a physical altercation with his wife.

Johnson is the son of Charles Johnson, part of the group including late managing partner Peter Magowan that bought the Giants in 1993 and kept them from relocating to Florida. Greg Johnson will be chairman and Dean the vice chairman, and both will be managing members, the team said in a statement.

Baer and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi will report to Johnson and Dean.

Dean is the son-in-law of late Giants principal owners Harmon and Sue Burns. Dean had been serving as the interim control person with Major League Baseball and the team’s board of directors. The Giants planned the changes to their governance structure after Baer’s absence.

A video posted by TMZ showed Pam Baer seated in a chair when Larry Baer reached over her to grab for a cellphone in her right hand and she toppled sideways to the ground in the chair screaming, “Oh my god!” The couple later released a statement saying they were embarrassed by the situation and regretted having a heated argument in public.

Baer, long the face of the franchise, sat a few rows back rather than on the podium when San Francisco introduced new manager Gabe Kapler at Oracle Park last week.

Bruce Bochy retired after the season following a 25-year managerial career that included the past 13 seasons with the Giants after 12 years with the Padres. His teams won World Series championships in 2010, ’12 and ’14.

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MLB

MLB owners approve Greg Johnson as Giants’ controlling owner

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SAN FRANCISCO — Greg Johnson was approved by the major league clubs as the new controlling owner of the San Francisco Giants.

Following the decision Thursday at the owners meetings in Arlington, Texas, Giants president and CEO Larry Baer still will represent the club at the meetings, along with Johnson and Rob Dean, who had been handling leadership duties since March.

Baer was suspended without pay from March 4 through July 1 after a video showed him in a physical altercation with his wife.

Johnson is the son of Charles Johnson, part of the group including late managing partner Peter Magowan that bought the Giants in 1993 and kept them from relocating to Florida. Greg Johnson will be chairman and Dean the vice chairman, and both will be managing members, the team said in a statement.

Baer and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi will report to Johnson and Dean.

Dean is the son-in-law of late Giants principal owners Harmon and Sue Burns. Dean had been serving as the interim control person with Major League Baseball and the team’s board of directors. The Giants planned the changes to their governance structure after Baer’s absence.

The video posted by TMZ showed Pam Baer seated in a chair when Larry Baer reached over her to grab for a cellphone in her right hand and she toppled sideways to the ground in the chair screaming, “Oh my God!” The couple later released a statement saying they were embarrassed by the situation and regretted having a heated argument in public.

Baer, long the face of the franchise, sat a few rows back rather than on the podium when San Francisco introduced new manager Gabe Kapler at the ballpark last week.

Bruce Bochy retired after the season following a 25-year managerial career that included the past 13 with the Giants and the previous 12 with the Padres. His teams won World Series championships in 2010, ’12 and ’14.

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