For a minute it looked like the Cardinals were going to make a game of this one after falling behind early, but the floodgates opened in the sixth and it was batting practice from that point onward for the Blue Jays.
The Cardinals will need to find a way to beat Kevin Gausman on Wednesday without four offensive starters (including Bader and Molina), or else they’ll start the second half with a record of 1-4.
Here’s how tonight’s wet fart of a game unfolded:
Tasked with beating a red-hot Blue Jays team that just scored 40 games in a three-game sweep in Boston, the Cardinals got on the board early courtesy of a Dylan Carlson solo shot. Tommy Edman lined out to third baseman Matt Chapman to lead it off, but Carlson woke up Jose Berrios with a 409-foot homer to right-center field. It was Dylan’s sixth homer of the season and left the bat at 104 mph.
Tyler O’Neill, playing in his native Canada for the first time in a very long time, grounded out to second base for out number two. Cleanup hitter Albert Pujols (what year is it?) swung at the first pitch he saw from Berrios and gave it a ride to right field, but it died on the warning track and Teoscar Hernandez made the catch.
But as quickly as the Cardinals took the lead, Toronto took it right back in the bottom half of the inning. A leadoff single from George Springer and a towering two-run homer from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got the Blue Jays on the board after just six pitches from Andre Pallante. Vladdy’s homer traveled 384 feet, and was his 21st homer of the season.
All-Star catcher Alejandro Kirk grounded back to Pallante, who ran to first base himself for the first out. Bo Bichette then reached with his 22nd double of the season, a speedy ground ball he slapped down the first base line with Pujols shifted to the left a bit. Hernandez followed Bichette’s double with a base hit to right field — the Blue Jays’ fourth hit of the inning. Bichette did not test Lars Nootbaar in right field and chose to stay at third base.
Pallante struck out Lourdes Gurriel with a slow curveball for the second out of the inning, but Chapman lined a two-out single up the middle to drive in Bichette from third base, making it 3-1 Blue Jays in the first.
All-Star second baseman Santiago Espinal grounded out to his counterpart Nolan Gorman to end the inning. Pallante threw 40 pitches in the first inning, forcing Oli Marmol to get the bullpen active just two outs into the game.
The Cardinals were retired 1-2-3 in the second inning, despite Berrios only throwing a few strikes. Brendan Donovan was called out on strikes to start the inning, and unfortunately all three strikes called were balls.
After punching out Donovan, home plate umpire Laz Diaz immediately turned and stared at Oli Marmol, but the camera angle did not show if he was responding to constructive criticism from the Cardinals’ dugout or if he was doing this proactively, expecting words.
Gorman grounded out to shortstop and Corey Dickerson flew out to left field to complete the 1-2-3 inning for Berrios.
Cavan Biggio and Springer hit back-to-back singles leading off the second inning — the Blue Jays sixth and seventh hits of the game. Guerrero then grounded into a 5-4-3 double play on a 2-2 fastball, which left Biggio at third base with two outs. Kirk flew out to the warning track in right field to end the second inning.
Nootbaar drew a leadoff walk, his 12th of the season. Knizner struck out looking for the first out of the third inning, but Edman’s seeing-eye single to left field advanced Nooty to scoring position. Carlson then served a single off the end of the bat into left-center field for an RBI base hit, cutting Toronto’s lead to 3-2 in the third.
O’Neill struck out swinging for out number two. which brought up Pujols. Albert fell behind 0-2, fouled off a few curveballs, and then singled into the vacated spot at second base into right field — driving in Edman. Pujols’ opposite field single tied the game at three runs apiece. Donovan struck out looking for the second consecutive at-bat for the third and final out.
After it was looking for a minute like Pallante wasn’t going to get through the first inning, he got to the third and breezed right through it. He struck out Bichette and Hernandez back-to-back, and then got Gurriel to fly out to deep right field to close out the third inning.
Gorman flew out to the warning track in left field for the first out. Dickerson grounded out to shortstop for the second out of the inning. Nootbaar singled with two outs, but Knizner struck out for the second straight at-bat to end the Cardinals’ half of the fourth.
Pallante struck out Chapman looking for the first out. Espinal popped out to Edman in shallow left field for the second out, and Biggio grounded out to Edman for the final out of the fourth.
Pallante’s final line: 4 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K’s (78 pitches)
Edman led off the fifth inning with a line drive single up the middle off Berrios. Carlson struck out swinging for the first out of the inning, and then O’Neill lined into a double play to end the Cardinals’ half of the fifth. O’Neill’s 107 mph line drive was scorched above the head of Espinal, but the all-star leapt as high as he could, snagged it, and then doubled Edman off of first base.
Jordan Hicks took the mound in the fifth after four innings from Pallante. He was able to work right through the top of Toronto’s order, inducing ground balls from Springer, Guerrero, and Kirk in a 1-2-3 inning.
Pujols worked a leadoff walk. Donovan grounded into a fielder’s choice out at second, with Espinal tagging the base to get Albert off the basepaths with one out. Gorman struck out swinging for out number two, but Dickerson — the former Blue Jay — singled up the middle to run Berrios from the game. Donovan moved to third base with two outs, and Toronto went to the bullpen.
Left-hander Tim Mayza was called on to face Nootbaar, as lefties hit just .163 against Mayza this season. He got Nootbaar to ground out to second base to end the top half of the inning, stranding the go-ahead run at third.
Berrios’ final line: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K’s (99 pitches)
Back in for his second inning of work, Hicks was able to get Bichette to fly out to center field for the first out. Hernandez singled to center with one out, giving Toronto their first baserunner since the second inning. Gurriel followed that hit with one of his own, and Carlson came up firing to third base in an attempt to nab Hernandez. The throw did not beat Hernandez, but Donovan alertly picked it and threw back to second, where Gurriel was tagged out sliding into second.
With two outs, Chapman singled right over the second base bag into center field to drive in Hernandez, giving Toronto a 4-3 lead in the sixth. Hicks walked Espinal, which prompted a visit from Greg Maddux. He then walked Biggio on four pitches as well, which meant his night was over.
Marmol called on Junior Fernandez to pitch to George Springer with the bases loaded and two outs. Springer turned on a 99 mph fastball and hammered it 413 feet into the left field seats for a grand slam, giving the Jays an 8-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth. Fernandez struck out Vladdy Jr. to end the sixth inning, but Springer’s slam appeared to be a knockout blow.
David Phelps took the mound in the seventh with a five-run lead. Knizner and Edman both flew out to right field, and Carlson grounded out to first base.
Fernandez returned for the seventh inning, and Kirk greeted him with a solo home run just our of the reach of Nootbaar in right field. It slipped over the wall, and the Blue Jays had a 9-3 lead. It was Kirk’s 12th homer of the season, and the second homer that Fernandez has given up this season.
Bichette then blooped a single into center field, but Carlson allowed the ball to take a high bounce off the turf and Bichette was able to hustle up the second base with a double. It was ruled a double, but also could have been ruled a single plus E8. Hernandez walked, followed by a ground ball double play from Gurriel. With two outs, Fernandez walked Chapman, who had already driven in two runs. Espinal followed with an RBI single up the middle to give Toronto a 10-3 lead.
Marmol was hoping Fernandez could get out of the seventh, but it became obvious he couldn’t do that. The Cardinals manager interrupted the Blue Jays’ batting practice for a moment to walk to the mound and take the ball from Junior so he could hand it to T.J. McFarland.
McFarland was able to get Biggio to ground out to first base to finally end the inning. The Cardinals trailed by a touchdown, 10-3.
Right-hander Max Castillo took the mound in the eighth inning, and the Cardinals did not score. At this point I don’t know if anyone really cares about the nitty gritty details down by seven. The Blue Jays didn’t score in the bottom half of the inning either, though.
Right-hander Jeremy Beasley entered to close the game and protect the seven-run lead for Toronto. The Cardinals loaded the bases with a base hit and two walks, but they weren’t able to capitalize and make the score look any closer.
Strikeout. Flyout. Ballgame.
FINAL: Toronto 10, St. Louis 3
St. Louis (51-47) will try to split the two-game set in Toronto (54-43) Wednesday night without their two star players.
Adam Wainwright (6-8, 3.40 ERA) will go for the Cardinals. He has an ERA of 4.40 over his past seven starts. He had his worst start of the season on Friday, giving up seven earned runs in a loss to the Reds. Kevin Gausman (7-7, 3.00 ERA) will pitch for the Blue Jays. He pitched six shutout innings against the Cardinals in St. Louis on May 24.
First pitch is set for 6:07 p.m.
Around the Central
Marlins 2, Reds 1 - Pablo Lopez struck out 11 over seven dominant innings.
Twins 6, Brewers 6 - BOT 6
Cubs 4, Pirates 2- Willson Contreras and Ian Happ got standing ovations after the game, as it’s unlikely either of them will be Cubs in one week.
MLB Pickle #139 - 3/9
One of the easiest pickles of the season.