Tagged in: MLB

Royals bullpen clutch in holding off fast-fading Twins 5-2

MJ Melendez homered for the second consecutive day, the Royals bullpen pitched five innings of two-hit ball and Kansas City beat the fast-fading Minnesota Twins 5-2 on Wednesday night to put a positive finish on a difficult day.

The Royals clinched their first winning series in nearly a month just hours after owner John Sherman fired longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, who led the franchise to two American League pennants and a World Series title.

Daniel Lynch allowed two runs on four hits over four shaky innings before giving way to the Kansas City bullpen, which was solid for the second consecutive night. 

Anthony Misiewicz (1-1) and three other relievers got the ball to Scott Barlow, pitched around an error in the ninth for his second save in as many nights and 23rd on the year.

Bailey Ober (1-3) permitted three runs on seven hits and a walk over five innings for Minnesota, which was in an AL Central race two weeks ago but has lost six of seven to start an eight-game trip that’s dashed its playoff hopes.

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The Royals opened the game the same way they finished the previous night: with production at the top of the order.

Melendez, who hit a two-run homer in the series opener, homered leading off the game for the third time this season, driving a 3-1 pitch an estimated 437 feet to center field. And after Bobby Witt Jr. reached on a base hit, Salvador Perez blooped an RBI double to right that was sneakily reminiscent of his two-out, go-ahead double on Tuesday night.

Minnesota got one back in the second on Matt Wallner’s base hit, and when the Royals answered on Edward Oliveras’ two-out single in the third, the Twins again closed within a run thanks in part to a two-bag error by Vinnie Pasquantino.

That was it for the Twins, though, because the stars of the night came out of the Kansas City bullpen.Collin Snider worked around a two-on, no-out jam in the fifth. Misiewicz retired four of the five he faced in the sixth and seventh. 

Dylan Coleman handled the rest of the seventh and the first two outs of the eighth. And Amir Garrett finished that one off before Barlow wrapped up the Twins’ 13th loss in their last 16 games.

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Milwaukee Brewers bolster bullpen, acquire reliever Matt Bush from Texas Rangers

The NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers got hard-throwing reliever and former No. 1 draft pick Matt Bush from the Texas Rangers on Monday night for infielder Mark Mathias and a top pitching prospect.

Bush is 2-1 with a 2.95 ERA and one save in 40 games this campaign, including five starting in an opener role. He hasn’t allowed an earned run over his past 12 appearances.

He was brought in to help fortify the Brewers’ bullpen on the same day they traded All-Star closer Josh Hader to San Diego for reliever Taylor Rogers and three other players.

“A little shocked, definitely wasn’t expecting it, but I guess just a bittersweet moment,” Bush said. “It’s also really exciting to go to the Brewers, a team that’s really winning right now and has a chance of going to the playoffs and doing big things.” Texas got Mathias and left-handed pitcher Antoine Kelly. Mathias will be added to the 40-man roster with the Rangers, and Kelly will be assigned to their minor league system.

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Bush, 36, has spent all five of his big league seasons with the Rangers (2016-18, 2021-22). He was the first pick in the 2004 draft as a shortstop by his hometown San Diego Padres.

Bush was a 30-year-old rookie when he made his major league debut with Texas in 2016.

That first game came nearly 12 years after he was drafted, the longest gap for a No. 1 pick to make his debut.

hat first game came nearly 12 years after he was drafted, the longest gap for a No. 1 pick to make his debut.

In 180 big league games as a pitcher, he is 12-7 with a 3.34 ERA and 188 strikeouts in 177⅔ innings

“It’s really hard to say goodbye here. This has been home for me for quite a while,” Bush said. “My family and I have been treated so well here, and I feel like the organization’s always taken care of myself first and then baseball.”

While with the Tampa Bay Rays organization in 2012, Bush had a DUI crash during spring training that seriously injured, and nearly killed, a 72-year-old man on a motorcycle. Bush spent 3½ years in prison.

The Rangers scouted Bush in the parking lot of a restaurant where he was employed while in a work-release program for the final months of his prison sentence in the fall of 2015.

Bush twice had surgery on his right elbow while with the Rangers. After a procedure in 2018 to repair and reinforce the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament didn’t work, Bush needed Tommy John surgery in 2019.

It was the second time he had had that ligament replacement surgery since converting from shortstop to pitcher not long after getting drafted.

After missing all of 2019 and 2020, his only appearance for Texas last year was a scoreless inning in the season finale.

Mathias, who turns 28 on Tuesday, has started five games at second base for the Brewers this season. He made his big league debut playing 16 games for Milwaukee in 2020 before missing all of last season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

Kelly, who is 22 and was a selection for the All-Star Futures Game, was a second-round pick by the Brewers in the 2019 draft. He was 2-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 19 starts at Class A Wisconsin this season.

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Mike Trout dealing with ‘pretty rare’ back condition, but Los Angeles Angels star says it’s manageable, plans to return this season

Mike Trout stated he appreciated all the support he received Wednesday after the Los Angeles Angels’ head athletic trainer revealed the three-time American League MVP had a “rare” spinal condition that could affect him for the rest of his career.

Even if Trout thought the whole thing was blown out of proportion.

“I think he meant that I have to stay on top of the routine I do on a daily basis to keep it from coming back,” Trout said after watching his Angels beat the Kansas City Royals 4-0 to clinch their first series victory in nearly a month.

“I’m appreciative of all the prayer requests, but my career is not over.”

The 10-time All-Star left a game versus Houston on July 12 with what was first called back spasms, then went on the injured list a week later with what was called rib cage inflammation.

On Wednesday, Angels athletic trainer Mike Forstad revealed it to be a rare spinal condition.

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“This is a pretty rare condition that he has right now in his back,” Frostad said. “The doctor (Robert Watkins III), who is one of the most well-known spine surgeons in the country — if not the world — doesn’t see a lot of these.

“And for it to happen in a baseball player — we just have to take into consideration what he puts himself through with hitting, swinging on a daily basis just to get prepared, and then also playing in the outfield, diving for balls, jumping into the wall — things like that. There’s so many things that can aggravate it. But this doctor hasn’t seen a lot of it.”

Trout smiled when thinking about the absurdity of the overreactions he’d been seeing online after Frostad’s comments.

“I got back and my phone was blowing up: ‘My career is over,'” he said. “It’s just rare for a baseball player. I just have to stay on top of it.”

Trout received a cortisone injection last week that has already begun to produce results. He has a follow-up visit next week and “we’ll go from there,” he said, though he has every intention of being back this year.

“Of course,” he said. “That’s my goal.”

The Angels have had no discussions about shutting him down.

“I don’t think we’re at a point where we’re going to make that decision,” Frostad said. “He’s going to have a follow-up here once we get back and we’ll just kind of see what the doctor thinks at that point.”

Trout, the second-highest-paid player in the game at $37.1 million, had been enjoying a nice bounce-back season after a calf injury limited him to just 36 matches last season.

He was hitting .270 with 24 homers and 51 RBIs through 79 games, a rare bright spot in what has been a dismal season for the Angels. “He’s been a great teammate,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said.

“He’s been [in] the dugout, helping out his teammate — he’s obviously a good sounding board for a lot of young players. For them to have him here and know that he’s supporting them is huge, I’m sure, for some younger guys.”

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White Sox beat Guardians 2-1, gain split in 4-game series

Lucas Giolito pitched one-run ball into the seventh inning and the Chicago White Sox defeated Cleveland 2-1 on Wednesday night after Guardians’ starter Aaron Civale exited after one inning because of a sore right wrist.

Giolito (6-5) yielded an unearned run in 6 1/3 innings and extended his dominance of Cleveland hitters. The right-hander is 5-1 with a 0.83 ERA in 10 starts versus Cleveland since May 17, 2019.

Giolito’s strong outing, along with RBI by José Abreu and Andrew Vaughn, helped the White Sox earn a split of the four-game series between the teams battling for second place in the AL Central Division.

Civale permitted two hits and threw 20 pitches in the scoreless first inning. Civale’s injury forced manager Terry Francona to use five relievers, one day after the teams played a doubleheader.

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Eli Morgan and Enyel De Los Santos each pitched two scoreless innings, but the White Sox got on the board in the sixth inning, scoring two runs off Sam Hentges (2-2) in the sixth. A double by Abreu scored Yoán Moncada, who had drawn a leadoff walk. Vaughn followed with an RBI groundout.

Liam Hendriks pitched the ninth and earned his 18th save in 21 chances.

Giolito retired the first batter in the seventh and was lifted after Franmil Reyes singled and rookie Nolan Jones walked. Owen Miller hit into a fielder’s choice. Miller was ruled out at first, but the call was reversed after a replay review.

Second baseman Josh Harrison’s fielding error on a ground ball by pinch-hitter Andrés Giménez permitted Reyes to score. Myles Straw grounded out to end the inning.

Civale missed a month earlier this season because of a left glute injury. The right-hander returned June 21 and was making his fifth start since coming off the injured list. Civale is 2-5 with a 6.17 ERA in 12 starts this season. He sprained the middle finger on his pitching hand last season and was out from June 21 to Sept 7.

Chicago’s All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson remained in the game after being hit on the leg by Luis Robert’s sharply hit grounder while running the bases in the seventh.

Left fielder Eloy Jiménez came up limping after catching José Ramírez’s liner to end the sixth and was removed from the game with tightness in his right leg.

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Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper had three pins inserted in fractured left thumb, but he’ll ‘be back’ in lineup this season

Bryce Harper has three pins in his left thumb, a cast on his left hand and an unyielding belief that he will return from injury this campaign to try and lead the Philadelphia Phillies to their first playoff appearance in 11 years.

“I’ll be back,” Harper said.

With those three words, Harper injected the franchise and the fan base with genuine expectations that the reigning NL MVP will play again at some point this season — and with a hope the Phillies will still be in the wild-card hunt when he returns.

Harper declined to put a timetable on when he could he return to the lineup as the feared designated hitter in the middle of the order who led the team on a summer surge and put Philadelphia in the thick of a real pennant race.

“I don’t want to give anybody a timetable because I don’t know,” Harper said. “If I knew a specific date that I’d be back, I’d tell you. I just don’t think it’s fair to anybody. I’ll be back when I’m ready to go.”

Harper was injured last month when he was hit by a 97 mph pitch from San Diego Padres left-hander Blake Snell.

Harper had pins inserted last week and will need them in the thumb for at least another three weeks. He is in a cast and unable to throw or do much of a workout.

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“I don’t want to hope or think about anything,” Harper said. “I just want to go day by day and be back when I can, whenever I feel healthy, whenever that is to help this team win. Granted, if we’re out of it, I’m going to come back and play no matter what, just so I know that I can go out there and play the game. I don’t want that to be my last day playing this year. No matter what the outcome, I’m going to come back and I’ll be playing.”

The 29-year-old Harper, who signed a $330 million, 13-year deal with the Phillies in 2019, is hitting .318 with 15 home runs, 48 RBIs and a .985 OPS. Harper talked Tuesday before the Phillies were set to open a three-game set versus Harper’s former team, the Washington Nationals.

Philadelphia is 4-3 in Harper’s absence and entered Tuesday only one game back of the final NL wild-card spot.

“I hate sitting there watching,” Harper said.

Harper had already surrendered his spot in right field earlier this season because of because of a small tear in the ulnar collateral ligament of his throwing elbow. He last played the field at Miami on April 16. Harper did not have a scheduled checkup on the elbow last week because of the surgery but he stated it could happen in another two weeks.

“I’m not going to rush the elbow,” Harper said. “If it feels good, I’m gonna go. I want to play out there, I want to be out there, I want to be helping this team.”

Harper said he did not expect to travel with the Phillies — who have the longest playoff drought in the National League — on an upcoming nine-game road trip that opens Friday in St. Louis and included stops in Toronto and versus the Marlins.

“I don’t really feel the need for me to go anywhere, especially with appointments for the next two weeks with the doctors,” he said. “If I didn’t have those appointments, I’d be going on this road. After the break, I’ll be kind of a little more open to going on the road and travel and get the things done I need to.”

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Judge, Stanton homer to bail out Taillon, Yanks top A’s 5-3

Giancarlo Stanton has seen trailing teams lose their fight a few times in his 13 big league seasons. Just not with these New York Yankees.

“We find a way to figure it out every night,” Stanton said. “We’re just like, pushing the envelope, boom-boom-boom, until the game’s over.”

Stanton and Aaron Judge homered to fuel New York’s major league-best 24th comeback triumph, bailing out Jameson Taillon in a 5-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.

The Yankees completed a three-game sweep of baseball’s worst team and improved to 56-20, matching the 2001 Mariners and 1998 Yankees for baseball’s best 76-game start since 1930.

Taillon gave up three runs in the first inning, but Judge countered with a two-run drive in the first and Stanton hit a three-run homer in the third against Cole Irvin.

The Yankees are 25-1 when Judge and Stanton homer in the same game, including 9-0 this season.

Taillon (9-1) grinded through five innings, and Clay Holmes pitched the ninth for his 14th save to end a seven-game homestand. Next, New York starts a season-high 11-day, 10-game trip with one game in Houston — a quirk of the sport’s reconfigured schedule after a lockout delayed opening day.

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Judge’s homer was his major league-leading 29th, and his past five have come with New York either trailing or tied.

He’s on pace for 62 this campaign, which would be most in the majors since Stanton hit 59 in 2017.

“It’d be great if it happened,” Judge said. “It’ll be something that’s pretty cool, but I think having a ring on my finger at the end of the year would be even better.”

“Definitely capable of doing it,” Stanton said about his teammate’s chances of reaching 60.

Stanton reached for Irvin’s changeup off the outside edge of the plate and swatted it over the right-field wall. It was Stanton’s 19th homer of the season, with five in his past six games.

“Hit it like only him and Judgey can kind of hit it that way,” manager Aaron Boone said.

The Yankees have 57 homers in June, surpassing the 2016 Orioles and 2019 Braves for most ever in the month.

Irvin (2-6) permitted six hits, but he covered seven innings with 103 pitches.

Taillon struggled against a lineup that didn’t include any player with a batting average higher than .234. Seth Brown’s one-out double sparked a three-run first inning, which included a two-run double by Stephen Piscotty and a run-scoring single by Elvis Andrus.

Taillon labored after that, too, but didn’t give up any more runs. He stranded six runners over his final four innings, including the bases loaded in the second. He permitted seven hits, struck out six and walked two.

“I knew that my delivery felt good today, I thought the stuff was still good,” Taillon said. “I just had to sharpen up the command a little bit.”

Taillon also drudged through his previous start, allowing six runs over 5 2/3 innings against Houston in a game New York came back to win 7-6. The past two outings have spiked Taillon’s ERA from 2.70 to 3.32.

Piscotty had two hits, his first since returning from the injured list Tuesday from a calf strain. “In his last two nights, his at-bats have looked good,” A’s manager Kotsay said.

“He’s a professional hitter, he’s got a track record and any type of success is great for any hitter, regardless of the time they’ve been off or what they’re going through offensively.”

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Abreu hits pair of 2-run homers, White Sox beat Tigers 9-5

Jose Abreu hit a pair of two-run homers and Luis Robert singled home the go-ahead run in the fifth inning to help the Chicago White Sox defeated the Detroit Tigers 9-5 on Monday night.

Abreu sent a soaring shot over the left-center fence in the first to give the White Sox a 2-0 lead. He hit a line drive in the ninth over a row of hedges beyond the wall in center to give Chicago a four-run cushion.

“He put on a heck of an exhibition,” manager Tony La Russa said.

White Sox right-hander Lance Lynn made his season debut, coming back from surgery on his right knee, and gave up three runs on 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings.

“It felt good to be back,” he said. “Early on, you’re trying to feel things out and they jumped on me.”

Lynn had a heated exchange with Chicago third base coach Joe McEwing in the dugout after the second inning.

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“(Lynn) was mad at himself,” La Russa insisted.

Bennett Sousa (3-0) was credited with the victory after throwing 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.

Rony Garcia (0-2) permitted four runs on five hits and two walks over four-plus innings.

Willi Castro hit a leadoff homer for the Tigers and scored twice. Miguel Cabrera had two hits, including an RBI single. Harold Castro added three hits and two RBI.

After Will Vest threw an inning of scoreless relief, Andrew Chafin entered for the Tigers and made a costly throwing error in the sixth.

Chafin fielded Reese McGuire’s sacrifice bunt and threw wide of third base, permitting two runs to score that gave Chicago a 6-3 lead.

“Terrible throw,” Chafin said.

The defending AL Central champion White Sox had lost four of five.

“There’s no turbulence in this clubhouse,” La Russa said. Detroit has dropped six of nine.

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Los Angeles Angels fire Joe Maddon; Phil Nevin named interim manager

Over the past couple of days, while his team navigated through a mystifying losing streak that still has not ceded, Los Angeles Angels general manager Perry Minasian started to think a change at manager might be necessary.

On Tuesday morning, as he drove into Angel Stadium after watching his daughter receive an award for her second-grade class, Minasian became convinced that it was time to let Joe Maddon go.

He called Angels owner Arte Moreno, received his blessing, then later drove to Maddon’s house to inform him he had been fired.

Thirty-two months ago, in October 2019, Maddon’s return to the organization he came up with was marked with celebration.

Now, on the heels of a 12-game losing streak that tarnished the Angels’ remarkable start, it’s over in swift, sudden fashion.

“It’s tough,” Minasian stated during a news conference at Angel Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. “Disappointed it’s come to this. I really like the man. It’s somebody I’m gonna talk to the rest of my life. Just the conversations daily. Who he is, what he’s about. You guys were around him — the energy he brings, how consistent he is on a daily basis. It’s tough. It’s tough. But you gotta be able to take emotion out of things and make decisions. I’ve taken the emotion out of it and taken a step back. Looking at where I’m at, as tough of a decision as it is, I felt like it was the right thing to do.”

Phil Nevin, the longtime corner infielder who joined the Angels coaching staff this year, will manage the team in the interim and will remain in that role through the end of the season, Minasian said. Mike Gallego will replace Nevin as the team’s third-base coach.

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The Angels, coming off getting shut out by Michael Wacha and the Boston Red Sox on Monday night, sit at 27-29 despite boasting a 27-17 record just two weeks earlier.

The 12-game losing streak ties the longest for a single season in franchise history and is tied for the second longest since 1900 by a team that was at least 10 games over .500 entering the streak, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau. During that 12-game stretch, the Angels had a minus-43 run differential, a .596 OPS and a 6.31 ERA.

“There hasn’t been one phase of the game where we’ve been good,” said Minasian, whose team finds itself 1½ games out of a playoff spot despite an expanded field.

“We’ve struggled on the mound, we’ve struggled at the plate, we’ve struggled defensively, we’ve struggled baserunning. The one thing I will say is the effort’s been great. I believe in this group. I know we’ve gone through a tough stretch, but we have 106 games left. And I’m excited about the 106 games.”

Maddon, 68, was in his third season with the organization he previously spent four decades with as a player and as a coach, largely in the minor leagues.

Maddon was Mike Scioscia’s bench coach on the team that won the 2002 World Series, then went on to a highly successful nine-year run with the low-budget Tampa Bay Rays, with whom he won two of this three manager of the year awards. In 2016, he led the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series championship in more than 100 years.

But it never quite clicked with the Angels.

The team concluded the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season with a 26-34 record, missing the postseason in a year when 16 teams made it. The Angels enjoyed a historic two-way season by Shohei Ohtani in 2021, but prolonged absences by Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon sent them to a sixth consecutive losing season.

They started 2022 with a dominant first month and a half but are suddenly in danger of missing the postseason for the eighth consecutive season.

In an interview with The Athletic shortly after his firing was announced, Maddon expressed surprise at the decision.

“You always rely on people in charge to read the tea leaves properly. This time, they did not,” Maddon told The Athletic, adding that he wants to continue managing.

“You can ask any of the players or coaches. They’re the ones who really know. Perry was in a tough spot. I understand that. Let me put it that way. I would really rely on the sentiments of the coaches and the players.”

Maddon added that he had what he considered to be a good working relationship with Minasian and that his relationship with the players and coaches “could not have been better.”

Nevin becomes the third Angels manager since the end of Scioscia’s 19-year run in 2018. Minasian, a longtime executive for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Atlanta Braves, is the team’s fourth full-time GM since Bill Stoneman ended his nine-year run in 2007.

Since being brought in at the start of the 2021 season, Minasian has been given the freedom to make major decisions in a manner that wasn’t afforded to prior executives such as Billy Eppler and Jerry Dipoto.

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Outfielder Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros finalize new six-year, $115 million deal

Yordan Álvarez already has brought so much to the Houston Astros.

On the day he and the team concluded a $115 million, six-year contract, general manager James Click spoke about how much more they expect the slugger to do for this franchise.

“A cornerstone player,” Click said. “It allows us to build the roster around him, build a lineup around him. And that sort of security, both for him and for us as we continue to try to compete for World Series championships is huge, knowing that we’re going to have a player of that caliber anchoring our lineup for the foreseeable future.”

The contract covers 2023 through 2028. The 24-year-old has a one-year deal for 2022 calling for $764,600 while in the major leagues and $304,500 should he be assigned to the minors.

“There’s a lot of hard work that’s gone into it and seeing the fruits of the labor really means a lot,” Álvarez stated in Spanish through an interpreter.

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His deal announced Monday calls for a $5 million signing bonus payable within 30 days of the contract’s approval by Major League Baseball and salaries of $7 million next year, $10 million in 2024 and $15 million in 2025, covering his three years of arbitration eligibility.

Álvarez, who obtained AL Rookie of the Year in 2019 and was the MVP of last year’s American League Championship Series, receives $26 million annually from 2026 through 2028, when he would have been eligible for free agency.

He said he thought about waiting until free agency to test the market, but in the end he and his agent decided, “it was the right decision to be here.”

His salary can escalate from 2024 to ’27 based on his finish in MVP voting: $1.5 million for first, $750,000 for second and $750,000 for third. The increment would apply to all subsequent seasons.

For 2027 and ’28, Álvarez gets a limited no-trade provision allowing him to list 10 teams he cannot be dealt to without his consent.

After seeing star pitcher Gerrit Cole and shortstop Carlos Correa leave as free agents, veteran second baseman Jose Altuve stated he is relieved to know Álvarez is staying.

“He’s one of the best players I’ve ever played with,” Altuve said. “And just the fact that he’s going to be here, that most time means that the team is trying to win for six years. And obviously with a guy like him in your lineup, you’re going to win many games.”

Álvarez hit .277 last year and set career highs with 33 homers and 104 RBIs. He entered Monday’s series opener against Seattle with a .295 average, 16 homers and 34 RBIs, all team highs.

While he already has proved to be one of the best young hitters in the game, Álvarez is sure he can do much more.

Manager Dusty Baker agreed and stated that Álvarez is only “scratching the surface” of how good he can be. Álvarez has played just one full major league season after being called up in June 2019 and missing all but two games of the 2020 season after surgery on both knees.

“That’s why you sign a guy to multi years, because you realize the fact that he is only going to get better,” Baker said. “And all he has to do now is to stay healthy and the sky’s the limit.”

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Jansen, Guerrero homer, Blue Jays beat Cardinals 8-1

Danny Jansen hit a three-run homer and a solo shot, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also went deep and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 8-1 on Tuesday night.

“It was my first time to be in the stadium here and obviously it’s a really cool stadium,” Jansen said. “It was fun. It was nice for us to get some breathing room. Guys were putting great swings on the ball and getting hits. Hitting is contagious. It always is.”

Kevin Gausman (4-3) threw six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts and no walks. He allowed four hits and beat the Cardinals for the first time in eight appearances.

“For us to get our mojo back and have that high energy and everybody talking in the dugout, that was nice to see,” Gausman said. “Any one of these guys can hit a home run at any given moment.”

Toronto split the two-game series and ended the Cardinals’ winning streak at four.

“It was a great day,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo stated. “We needed this day. Gausman gave us what we needed. We rest the bullpen. It was great to see the offense come alive.”

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Jordan Hicks (1-4) pitched three-plus innings in his first career start versus the Blue Jays. He permitted four runs on four hits with five walks.

“The whole game I felt like I didn’t have command of my fastball,” Hicks said. “The fastball is the game changer for me. I can’t be out there throwing slider or curveball every pitch. It’s frustrating.”

Alejandro Kirk led off the fourth with a single and Matt Chapman walked before Jansen hit a 3-2 slider from Hicks off the foul pole in left to make it 4-0.

“I was just hoping it wouldn’t hook too much,” Jansen said. “That was really cool. I’ve talked about getting out of my own way. I’m good at pulling the ball.”

Jansen led off the seventh with a blast estimated at 427 feet for his fifth homer this season and third multi-homer game of his career.

The Blue Jays added three runs in the sixth. 

George Springer hit a sinking line drive to right field for a triple to score Raimel Tapia and chase reliever Nick Wittgren. A sacrifice fly drove home Springer.

Guerrero then greeted reliever Drew VerHagen with a homer to left. He had singled in the first inning to snap an 0-for-14 drought.

“Obviously if I tell you that I didn’t enjoy it, I would be lying to you guys,” Guerrero said through a translator. “When you hit a homer, you’ve got to enjoy it.”

It was Guerrero’s second homer of the month and his first in 15 games.

“Before he did that, he was talking in the dugout that for the first time he feels locked in,” Montoyo. “Like he can see the ball right. That bomb he hit, that was good to hear.”

Rookie Brendan Donovan had an RBI single in the seventh for the Cardinals.

“Game got away from us,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “Gave up some extra outs. Not our best baseball.”

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