Yadier Molina to miss 8-12 weeks with a torn thumb ligament

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Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina sprained his thumb last night on an awkward slide into third base. He underwent an to determine the severity of the injury. The verdict: severe. Molina has a torn ligament in his right thumb. He will have surgery and will miss 8-12 weeks, the team announced a few minutes ago.

Molina was hitting .287/.341/.409 with 16 doubles and seven home runs when he went down. That’s off the pace of where he’s been the past couple of years, but it’s still excellent production, and that’s before you factor in the fact that he is, bar none, the best catcher in all of baseball. This is a tremendous blow for the Cardinals, who have had the luxury of Molina’s outstanding work, almost uninterrupted, for the past decade.

In his place: Tony Cruz and Audry Perez. At least for now. If the Cardinals are looking to get a veteran presence to take Molina’s place or back either Cruz or Perez up, both John Buck and A.J. Pierzynski were DFA’d this week.

Not that either of them are a substitute for Yadi. Heck, you could stack all four of those guys on top of one another and they wouldn’t measure up to Yadi.

Mike Leake loses perfect game bid on leadoff single in the ninth

Mike Leake
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Just one week after Taylor Cole and Felix Peña tossed a combined no-hitter against Seattle, Mariners right-hander Mike Leake worked on his own perfect game through eight innings against the Angels.

It was an ambitious form of revenge, and one that Leake served up perfectly as he held the Angels scoreless in frame after frame. He sprinkled a handful of strikeouts throughout the first eight innings, catching Matt Thaiss on a called strike three in the third and getting two whiffs — called strikeouts against both Brian Goodwin and Shohei Ohtani — in the fourth.

The Mariners, meanwhile, put up a good fight against the Angels, backing Leake’s attempt with 10 runs — their first double-digit total since a 13-3 rout of the Orioles on June 23. Daniel Vogelbach led things off in the fourth with a three-run homer off of reliever Jaime Barria, then repeated the feat with another three-run shot off Barria in the fifth. Tom Murphy and J.P. Crawford helped pad the lead as well with a two-RBI single and two-RBI double, respectively.

In the ninth, with just three outs remaining, the Angels finally managed to break through. Luis Rengifo worked a 1-1 count against Leake, then returned an 85.3-m.p.h. changeup to right field for a base hit, dismantling the perfecto and the no-hitter in one fell swoop. Leake lost control of the ball following the hit, issuing four straight balls to Kevan Smith in the next at-bat and giving the Angels their first runner in scoring position. Still at a pitch count of just 90, however, he induced the next two outs in quick fashion and polished off the win with a triumphant eight-pitch strikeout against Mike Trout for the first one-hitter (and Maddux) of his career.

Had Leake successfully closed out the perfecto, it would’ve been the first of his decade-long career in the majors and the first the Mariners had seen since Félix Hernández’s perfect game against the Rays in August 2012. For their part, the Angels have yet to be on the losing end of a perfecto. The last time they were shut out in a no-hitter was 1999, at the hands of then-Twins pitcher Eric Milton.