Yadier Molina back in Cardinals’ lineup Thursday

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The Cardinals were given a scare on Tuesday when catcher Yadier Molina was forced to make an early exit after a nasty collision at home plate with the Pirates’ Josh Harrison. But all is back to normal.

According to Jen Langosch of MLB.com, Molina is back in the St. Louis starting lineup on Thursday night against the Nationals. He suffered neck, back and shoulder strains in Tuesday’s collision but will play through whatever discomfort remains as the Cardinals kick off a crucial four-game series in the nation’s capital.

Molina, 30, is batting .325/.375/.511 with 17 home runs and 62 RBI in 111 games this season.

The Rebirds enter play Thursday with a 71-59 record, ranking second in the National League Central.

Steven Matz homers in back-to-back starts

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Mets starter Steven Matz helped his own cause again, belting a solo home run in the top of the third inning of Tuesday’s game against the Phillies. Matz turned on a 1-1 breaking ball from Cy Young contender Aaron Nola, breaking a scoreless tie.

Matz also homered in his previous start against the Marlins last Thursday. According to MLB Stat of the Day, he is the third Mets pitcher to homer in back-to-back starts, joining Tom Seaver (1972) and Ron Darling (1989).

Matz is the fourth full-time pitcher to hit multiple home runs this season, joining the Reds’ Michael Lorenzen (four), and the Cardinals’ John Gant and Miles Mikolas (two each). The last Mets pitcher to hit multiple home runs in a season was Noah Syndergaard, who hit three in 2016.

Along with the bat, Matz has also been dealing on the mound. As of this writing, he has held the Phillies scoreless over five innings despite walking five batters and allowing two hits.