Pujols, Gorman home runs power St. Louis past Dodgers 7-6

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

ST. LOUIS — Albert Pujols and rookie Nolan Gorman hit solo home runs and the St. Louis Cardinals ended Los Angeles’ seven-game winning streak, beating the Dodgers 7-6 Tuesday night.

“We had a lot of guys contributing,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “A lot of different guys stepped up. It was good to see the guys do their jobs. It’s fun to play good teams. It’s a credit to our guys.”

The teams squared off for the first time this season. Their last matchup came in last season’s NL wild-card game, when Chris Turner hit a two-run, walk-off homer off Alex Reyes for a 3-1 victory.

Andrew Knizner, the No. 9 hitter, drove in three runs on three singles as St. Louis won its third straight.

“That was a good win against a good team that’s hot right now,” Knizner said. “We pitched good. We got timely hits. We played good defense.”

Trea Turner had a two-run homer and single, and scored a season-high three runs for the Dodgers, who are 11-2 in their last 13 games. Freddie Freeman added a solo homer, two singles and an RBI double. It was Freeman’s fourth four-hit game of the season, leading the majors.

Juan Oviedo, the second of seven St. Louis pitchers, improved to 2-1 with the win. He worked 1 1/3 innings. Giovanny Gallegos gave up a leadoff homer to Freeman, but hung on in the ninth inning for his 10th save.

Pujols hit a 0-1 pitch into the left field seats with two outs in the second inning off Mitch White, who had retired the first five batters he faced before giving up consecutive hits in the second. It was Pujols’ 685th career home run and sixth this season. He celebrated his 451st homer with the Cardinals in style, with a double high five with rapper Nelly.

“I mean, just walking up to the plate, this place goes nuts,” Marmol said. “He hits a homer. It came at a time when it was needed. That’s what veteran guys like him do. Albert’s taking really good at-bats. His presence is needed.”

Pujols, MLB’s oldest player at 42 years old, is 11 homers behind Alex Rodriquez, who has career 696 homers. Pujols has hit homers off 446 pitchers in his career. Barry Bonds leads the way, hitting homers off 449 pitchers.

The Cardinals added two more runs in the second, stringing together a single, ground rule double, wild pitch and another single for a 3-0 lead.

The Dodgers scored a run in the third off Oviedo on a double by Freeman, scoring Trea Turner.

“You get into those little zones and you don’t miss them,” Freeman said. “You just ride them. I feel good at the plate.”

Gorman snapped an 0-for-12 skid with a two-out homer to center in the third, giving St. Louis a 4-1 lead. It was his eighth homer since joining the club May 20.

St. Louis added two runs in the fourth on singles by Knizner and Nolan Arenado, extending the lead to 6-1.

“That’s what I need to do,” Knizner said. “Produce when I can and get RBIs. With this lineup we’re playing against, you’re never safe.”

Turner hit a two-run homer in the fifth off Matthew Liberatore, who originally was scheduled to start the game. Hanser Alberto scored on a single by Austin Barnes in the sixth.

An RBI single by Will Smith cut the St. Louis advantage to 6-5 in the seventh. Rookie reliever Packy Naughton came on with the bases loaded and pitched out of the jam, getting two shallow fly outs and a strikeout of Cody Bellinger.

“I knew my fastball was playing and it worked out,” Naughton said about retiring Bellinger.

Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said he liked the matchups in the inning.

“We just didn’t execute,” Roberts said. “That’s baseball. They dodged a bullet there.”

Naughton has stranded all nine inherited runners he has had this season.

“Hey, this is my job,” Naughton said. “This is what I’m paid to do. If I wasn’t doing it, we’d had an issue. Every kid when they were growing up thinks about coming in with the bases loaded and no outs. So, for me, that actually came true.

“It was fun. I did my job and we came out with a `W.’ I was pumped. I let out a little expletive. It was a really cool moment.”

Knizner drove in Lars Nootbaar, who doubled, in the eighth for a run off David Price.

“That was a big run heading into the ninth inning,” Marmol said. ” … Tacking on that run was very important.”

Freeman capped a 4 for 5 night with a lead off homer in the ninth.

“We came back and gave ourselves a chance to win that game,” Freeman said. “Sometimes you have to tip your cap. We gave them a little scare there at the end of the game.”

Jordan Hicks started, serving as the opener, and threw 38 pitches in the 1 2/3 innings. It was Hicks’ eighth start this year and his first since May 24, when he went four innings in a loss to the Blue Jays.

White (1-2) took the loss. He pitched five innings, allowing 10 hits and six runs.

“For him to give us five innings was still beneficial,” Roberts said. “We had a chance to win. Unfortunately we just came up short.”


The were eight members of the NL All-Star team in Tuesday’s game. The four Cardinals are Paul Goldschmidt, Arenado, Pujols and Ryan Helsley. The four Dodgers are Trea Turner, Mookie Betts, Clayton Kershaw and Tony Gonsolin.


Knizner made his 45th start at catcher this season. It’s the most by a Cardinals player in a season, other than Yadier Molina, since Gold Glove winner Mike Matheny (110 in 2004).


Sitting in the first row by the Cardinals dugout, rapper Nelly watched the game. The three-time Grammy award winner got loud applause when he was shown on the videoboard. After the fifth inning, Nelly hosted a trivia contest that had a fan name his three most famous songs in an imitation of the Family Feud.


Dodgers: LHP Andrew Heaney (left shoulder inflammation) pitched a simulated game Tuesday at Busch Stadium. He threw two innings. Heaney’s next rehab outing will be Saturday for Single A Rancho Cucamonga. He will pitch three or four innings.

Cardinals: C Yadier Molina (inflamed right knee) will report to an unspecified rehab assignment toward the end of this month. He is expected to return in early August. Molina turns 40 on Wednesday. He missed 25 games since June 16. Molina is hitting .213 with two home runs and 10 RBI.


Dodgers: Tony Gonsolin (11-0, 1.62) leads the majors in ERA. He is 1-0 in two starts against the Cardinals. This will be his second start at Busch Stadium.

Cardinals: Adam Wainwright (6-7, 3.15) will make his 18th career appearance (15th start) against the Dodgers. St. Louis is 11-5 in those games. He has pitched six or more innings in his last 13 regular season starts (11 quality) against the Dodgers. He has won his last three home starts against the Dodgers dating back to 2017.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.