Springer hits slam, Jays win 7th in row, top depleted Cards

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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TORONTO – George Springer hit his seventh career grand slam, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had a two-run drive and the Toronto Blue Jays extended their winning streak to seven by beating the short-handed St. Louis Cardinals 10-3 Tuesday night.

Alejandro Kirk added his 12th homer and Matt Chapman had two hits, including the tiebreaking single in a five-run sixth as Toronto improved to 8-1 under manager John Schneider.

Springer had three hits, scored twice, and made a fine catch at the wall in deep right to end the game, leaving the bases loaded.

“He’s a stud,” Schneider said of Springer. “He’s continuously made big plays in big moments his whole career.”

Dylan Carlson hit a solo home run as St. Louis played the first of two games in Canada without unvaccinated sluggers Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. The two biggest bats in the Cardinals lineup were placed on the restricted list before the game, along with catcher Austin Romine.

Foreign nationals who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 are not allowed to enter Canada, save for limited exceptions that require a 14-day quarantine. Unvaccinated baseball players are placed on the restricted list, where they are not paid and do not accrue major league service time.

A seven-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove award winner at first base, Goldschmidt leads the Cardinals in batting average (.333), home runs (22), RBIs (74), on-base percentage (.416) and hits (116). He was named NL player of the week Monday after homering in five straight games.

Arenado is a seven-time All-Star and a nine-time Gold Glove winner at third base. The former Colorado star has led the NL in home runs three times.

Veteran slugger Albert Pujols started at first base in place of Goldschmidt, while Brendan Donovan was at third base. The crowd of 39,756 gave Pujols a loud ovation before his first at-bat.

Carlson connected off Jose Berrios in the first, his sixth. Guerrero answered in the bottom half with his 21st home run and Chapman added an RBI single to make it 3-1.

Carlson and Pujols tied it with RBI hits in the third, but Chapman restored the lead with a hit off Jordan Hicks (2-5) in the sixth. Hicks walked the next two batters to load the bases before Junior Fernandez came on and served up Springer’s slam, his 18th home run this season.

“It’s a big spot right there, to put us up by some more runs,” Springer said. “That’s the stuff that you enjoy playing the game for. It’s a huge moment.”

HIcks and Fernandez combined for eight outs, four walks, and seven earned runs.

“When you allow free bases, that’s where you get yourself in trouble,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said.

Berrios allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings. Tim Mayza (5-0) got one out for the win.

Making his second career interleague start, Cardinals rookie right-hander Andre Pallante allowed three runs and seven hits in four innings.

“There’s going to be days where if you’re relying on balls in play, it’s going to find a hole, Marmol said. “Today they squared them up.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: It will be about a week before St. Louis knows whether LHP Steven Matz will require season-ending surgery, Marmol said. Matz left Saturday’s start against Cincinnati in the sixth inning after straining his left knee while trying to field Joey Votto‘s dribbler up the first-base line.

Blue Jays: LHP Yusei Kikuchi (strained neck) threw a side session Tuesday and is a candidate to come off the IL and start Thursday against Detroit, Schneider said.

WELCOME BACK, BUCK!

Before the second inning, the Blue Jays came out of their dugout and tipped their caps to former TV broadcaster Buck Martinez, who returned to the booth Tuesday after undergoing treatment for cancer. Fans stood and cheered and even Pallante stopped warming up to salute Martinez, who stepped away from his role in mid-April.

Martinez, 73, is a former Blue Jays catcher and manager who also played for Kansas City and Milwaukee in a 17-year big league career that ended in 1986. He managed Team USA at the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006.

SNAPPY

After falling behind 0-2 in his third-inning at bat against Berrios, Pujols removed a broken chain from around his neck, handed it to home plate umpire Laz Diaz for safekeeping, then grounded a game-tying single on the next pitch.

SIMPLY GRAND

Toronto has five grand slams this season, tied for most in the majors.

ROSTER MOVES

Cardinals: St. Louis recalled OF Conor Capel and C Ivan Herrera, and selected INF Cory Spangenberg from Triple-A Memphis as substitute players.

UP NEXT

Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (6-8, 3.40) starts Wednesday against Blue Jays RHP Kevin Gausman (7-7, 3.00). Wainwright’s only prior start in Toronto was a 5-0 loss on June 24, 2010.

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.