TORONTO — Albert Pujols hit a three-run homer and finished with three hits, passing Rogers Hornsby on St. Louis’ career roster, and the Cardinals ended Toronto’s seven-game winning streak with a victory of 6-1 against the Blue Jays Wednesday night.
Adam Wainwright threw seven sparkling innings to help St. Louis win part of the two-game set while playing without unvaccinated hitters Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. Nolan Gorman homered, and Dylan Carlson and Lars Nootbaar each had an RBI double.
Foreign nationals who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 are not allowed to enter Canada, except for limited exceptions which require a 14-day quarantine. Unvaccinated baseball players are placed on the shortlist, where they do not get paid and do not accrue major league service time.
Goldschmidt, Arenado and receiver Austin Romine, all of whom were on the shortlist on Tuesday, will be eligible to return when the Cardinals open a three-game series in Washington on Friday.
Facing Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman, Pujols scored a single in the second and doubled in the fourth. The hits were his 2,110th and 2,111th with the Cardinals, moving Hornsby to fourth in franchise history.
“That’s what you’re hoping for is that he steps in and is able to carry us through a time when we didn’t have Goldy and Nolan, and he did exactly that,” the Cardinals manager said, Oliver Marmol. “He knew what was at stake and that we were going to have to rely on him.”
Gausman left after outing Tyler O’Neill in the fifth and Pujols welcomed Trevor Richards with his seventh homer of the season and career No. 686. Pujols ranks fifth on the baseball home run list, 10 behind Alex Rodriguez.
“He’s amazing,” Wainwright said of Pujols. “He may be old but he can still hit.”
Eleven-time All-Star and three-time NL MVP, Pujols flew in to cross on his last at-bat in the seventh.
“I’m ready to hit wherever they put me in the lineup,” said Pujols, who hit fourth overall in both games against the Blue Jays.
Pitching in Toronto for the first time since June 24, 2010, Wainwright (7-8) allowed one run and five hits for his first win since June 27 against Miami. He rebounded well from allowing a season-worst seven points in his previous outing, a loss at Cincinnati.
“Just a great opportunity to come out and prove I still had what it takes to be a great pitcher in this game,” Wainwright said. “I had a good curve ball tonight, good cutter. I still worked a bit on fastball control but my rotation was good tonight.”
Bo Bichette’s two-out RBI single in the fourth brought Toronto’s lone run home.
Gausman (7-8) allowed five runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. He has only won once in his last four outings.
“Obviously I was at the clubhouse a lot earlier than I wanted to be,” Gausman said.
Gorman homered into Gausman’s opposite field to start the fifth, his 10th.
Cardinals: C Yadier Molina (right knee) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Memphis today and could be activated next week, Marmol said. … OF Harrison Bader will be out for several weeks with plantar fasciitis in his right heel, Marmol said.
Wainwright, who pitched in Canada and Mexico, won a game away from the United States for the first time.
JUST A NUMBER
At 42 years and 192 days, Pujols is the oldest player to hit a home run at the Rogers Centre/SkyDome, which opened in 1989.
Toronto is 11-11 in July. The Blue Jays have lost nine of their first 11 games this month.
Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. finished second of fourth for his first stolen base of the season.
Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (7-8, 2.87 ERA) will start Friday’s game in Washington. RHP Aníbal Sánchez (0-2, 6.30) goes for the Nationals.
Blue Jays: LHP Yusei Kikuchi (3-5, 5.12) is expected to be taken off the injured list to start today against Detroit. Kikuchi has been out since July 6 with a sprained neck. LHP Tyler Alexander (2-3, 4.05) leaves for the Tigers.