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.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.