Steve Pearce exits game with lower back stiffness

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Steve Pearce didn’t make it out of the first inning on Friday. He struck out looking against the Tigers’ Buck Farmer and was replaced by rookie left fielder Teoscar Hernandez at the start of the second inning. A later report by the club revealed lower back stiffness, but a timeline for his return has yet to be established.

Pearce, 34, doesn’t appear to have a history of back injuries. He missed 110 days with a combination of calf tightness and a right knee contusion earlier this season, but has been relatively healthy since his return to the field in June and slashed .249/.320/.446 with seven home runs and a .766 OPS in the second half.

Following Pearce’s early exit, Hernandez went 1-for-2 with an RBI double to put the Blue Jays on the board in the fifth. They currently trail the Tigers 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).