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Waino, O’Neill raise Playing cards over Pirates in Pujols’ return | Sports



ST. LOUIS — Albert Pujols held again tears throughout a prolonged standing ovation. The Cardinals designated hitter placed on an enormous smile as an alternative.

Plenty of cause for these on this opening day in St. Louis.

Adam Wainwright pitched six scoreless innings, Tyler O’Neill hit a three-run homer and drove in a career-high 5, and the Cardinals celebrated Pujols’ return with a 9-0 season-opening win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.

“I was trying to hold it in a little bit,” Pujols stated. “These fans really appreciate what I’ve done for this organization and hopefully I can continue to do that and finish strong.”

Yadier Molina threw out a runner making an attempt to steal second within the first sport of his last massive league season, and Nolan Arenado and Tommy Edman additionally homered for the Cardinals, who received the managerial debut of 35-year-old Oliver Marmol. Paul Goldschmidt drew 4 straight walks, the primary participant to try this on opening day since Manny Ramírez in 2002.

The Pirates had simply six hits and misplaced budding star Ke’Bryan Hayes to left forearm spasms within the first inning — simply hours after information started to unfold that Hayes had agreed to a $70 million, eight-year deal. Hayes stated the difficulty was minor and never associated to a wrist damage that spoiled his 2021 season.

“It was only a cramp,” he said.

Fans stood and cheered Pujols for nearly a full minute prior to his first at-bat, a flyout to left in the first inning. The 42-year-old played 11 seasons in St. Louis (2001-2011) and helped the Cardinals to a pair of World Series championships before leaving to join the Los Angeles Angels.

Pujols, who signed a one-year deal with St. Louis last month, was 0 for 5.

“He looked good, at least as far as his timing,” Marmol said.

Added Wainwright: “The time that he was here (before), he was a franchise player. A guy who changed the game and was the face of baseball in St. Louis. To see him come back, to be a part of this clubhouse again, is really, really cool.”

Wainwright (1-0) allowed five hits in his sixth opening day start and first since 2016. The 40-year-old struck out six and did not walk a batter. He and the 39-year-old Molina made their 305th start as a battery, fourth most in major league history. Molina made his franchise-record 18th successive opening day start.

O’Neill had an RBI single in the first, then broke the game open with a line-drive homer to left in the second inning against starter JT Brubaker (0-1) for a 4-0 lead.

“We’re an offensive force,” O’Neill said. “We have a lot of depth, one through nine. Everybody’s dangerous. The DH helps a lot as well. We’re always confident in ourselves.”

Wainwright wriggled out of his solely jam within the fourth by getting Kevin Newman to floor into an inning-ending double play with two runners on base. Wainwright has not allowed a run in opposition to Pittsburgh in his final 32 innings.

“I’m not trying to take away how amazing today was,” Wainwright stated. “But we still plan on getting that last out of the entire season.”

The Cardinals recorded their largest opening day margin of victory since beating Houston 14-3 in 1982.

Yoshi Tsutsugo had two hits for Pittsburgh, which opened the season on the street for sixth successive season.

Relievers Nick Wittgren, Genesis Cabrera and Ryan Helsley mixed on the six-hit shutout.

Brubaker, who was the Pirates seventh opening day starter in as a few years, allowed 4 runs over three innings. He struck out two and walked three.

HORSING AROUND

Pregame ceremonies featured the normal parade of Clydesdale horses circling the sphere along with the introduction of 16 members of the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame. Ozzie Smith threw out the primary pitch to Willie McGee.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: RHP Duane Underwood Jr. left the sport within the sixth with proper hamstring tightness. … OF Greg Allen was positioned on the 60-day damage record with a left hamstring problem.

Cardinals: Opening the season with out RHP Jack Flaherty, who’s sidelined with shoulder stiffness.

UP NEXT

Pittsburgh RHP Mitch Keller (5-11, 6.17 final season) will face RHP Miles Mikolas (2-3, 4.23) within the second sport of a four-game collection Saturday.

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