Yadier Molina’s absence felt immediately as Giants take lead in the seventh inning

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Update: Just as this post went up, pinch-hitter Oscar Taveras lined a home run down the right field line to bring the Cardinals back into a tie at 3-3.

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina exited Game 2 of the NLCS in the bottom of the sixth inning due to a strained left oblique, and his absence was felt immediately in the top of the seventh inning. Back-up catcher Tony Cruz took over behind the plate for Molina.

Brandon Crawford led off with a walk against lefty Randy Choate. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny took Choate out in favor of right-hander Carlos Martinez. Cruz couldn’t handle a Martinez offering as the ball skipped away and allowed Crawford to advance to second.

Following that, pinch-hitter Mike Morse broke his bat on a ground ball in the hole between shortstop and third base. Shortstop Jhonny Peralta may have had a force play at second base had Crawford not advanced on the passed ball. Instead, he held onto the ball and the Giants had runners on first and second with no outs. Juan Perez then bunted the two runners over to second and third base to bring up Gregor Blanco. Blanco singled to right field, scoring Crawford to break the 2-2 tie. That was the extent of the damage, as Martinez retired Joe Panik and Buster Posey each on fly balls.

Giants reliever Jean Machi is on the hill in the seventh inning as they attempt to get the final nine outs while holding into their lead to go up 2-0 in the NLCS over the Cardinals.

Mattingly: Marlins sidelined by virus are ‘feeling great’

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Maimi Marlins players sidelined by COVID-19 are all asymptomatic, and some have applied for reinstatement, according to manager Don Mattingly.

The Marlins placed 17 players on the injured list last week following an outbreak in Philadelphia that forced seven games to be postponed. The infected players returned to Miami to be quarantined, and will likely need rehab workouts before rejoining the team.

“They feeling great,” Mattingly said. “They all feel like they’re ready to go. There are a lot of guys who have applied for reinstatement. How long that takes, I’m not sure. But they feel like they’re ready to at least get back and start doing something.”

Players on the COVID-19 injury list must be cleared by the MLB joint committee before returning.

Mattingly made his comments before the Marlins’ game against the Blue Jays in Buffalo, where they concluded a season-opening trip that turned into a 23-day marathon because of scheduling changes necessitated by the outbreak.

The team plays at Marlins Park for the first time this season Friday against Atlanta.