MLB: Blue Jays outlast Cardinals 10-9 in back-and-forth opener

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit the go-ahead sacrifice fly in a two-run ninth and had three RBIs as the visiting Toronto Blue Jays defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 10-9 on Opening Day Thursday afternoon.

George Springer had five hits and Bo Bichette added four hits for Toronto.

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Tyler O’Neill and Brendan Donovan hit two-run home runs for the Cardinals. It was O’Neill’s fourth consecutive Opening Day with a homer, tying a major league record.

Each starter allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings. Toronto’s Alek Manoah allowed nine hits, including two homers, and had three strikeouts. Miles Mikolas allowed 10 hits and struck out six for the Cardinals.

The lead changed hands three times in the final two innings.

St. Louis’ Jordan Hicks allowed singles by Springer and Bichette to open the eighth. A wild pitch put runners at second and third. Catcher Willson Contreras was injured on the play as Hicks’ pitch glanced off his right knee, and Andrew Knizner took over as catcher. Guerrero hit a two-run single to make it 8-7.

Yimi Garcia (1-0) walked Lars Nootbaar to open the home eighth and Goldschmidt doubled. Arenado put the Cardinals up 9-8 with a two-run ground-rule double.

Ryan Helsley (0-1) walked Whit Merrifield to start the ninth. Kevin Kiermaier singled, Springer hit an RBI single to tie the game and Guerrero hit his sacrifice fly.

Jordan Romano pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth to earn the save.

Daulton Varsho hit a one-out RBI double to right in the first for the Blue Jays. Alejandro Kirk followed with a two-run single to center.

Donovan led off the bottom of the first with an infield single and took second on Bichette’s throwing error. Nolan Arenado drove him in on a single.

Bichette made it 4-1 in the second with an RBI double.

Contreras singled in the third and O’Neill homered 403 feet to center.

Springer led off the fourth with a single and took third on Guerrero’s single. Zack Thompson replaced Mikolas and allowed Varsho’s sacrifice fly.

Tommy Edman started the home fourth with an infield single and Donovan homered to right center.

Tim Mayza allowed singles to Donovan, Nootbaar and Paul Goldschmidt and St. Louis took a 6-5 lead in the sixth.

Brandon Belt doubled against Andre Pallante with one out in the seventh. Matt Chapman’s single scored pinch-runner Nathan Lukes, making his major league debut.

Anthony Bass allowed Contreras’s single and walked O’Neill with no outs in Cardinal seventh. Adam Cimber walked Nolan Gorman. Walker’s fielder’s choice grounder scored a run for a 7-6 lead.

–Field Level Media

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