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

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

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.”

ALL STAR NUMBERS

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.

KNIZER START

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).

FACE IN THE CROWD

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.

TRAINER’S ROOM

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.

UP NEXT

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.

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.