Pittsburgh has its first run in this NLDS Game 5.
Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright cruised through his first six innings and got two quick outs to open the seventh, but Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter slipped while trying to pick up a Justin Morneau infield single and then Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma misplayed a Marlon Byrd groundball to put runners at first and second. Pedro Alvarez then drove Morneau home with a grounder that hit off the first base bag and sailed high over the glove of less-than-agile Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams. Alvarez is the first player in major league history to register an RBI in the first six postseason games of his career.
The host Cardinals still lead 3-1 as Game 5 moves along to the top of the eighth inning.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.