Max Schrock tripled in a three-run eighth inning as the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 in pre-season baseball on Monday.
A crowd of 25,335 turned out at Olympic Stadium for the first of a two-game set to close out the pre-season, with the second meeting set for Tuesday night.
Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman faced twelve batters through four innings but conceded two runs in 2/3 of an inning in the fifth. Marcell Ozuna led off with a home run to left centre and Jose Martinez followed with a single. Pinch runner Randy Arozorena scored on Jedd Gyorko's two-out single off reliever Danny Barnes.
Toronto tied it 2-2 off Mike Mayers in the seventh when Kendrys Morales walked and then scored on Teoscar Hernandez's triple to centre. Hernandez scored on a Danny Espinosa single.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., son of the former Montreal Expos star, had the crowd on their feet when he came up with two out, but he flied out to left.
Yairo Munoz singled off Seung-hwan Oh and scored on Patrick Wisdom's double to open the eighth. Francisco Pena brought in Wisdom and scored on Schrock's triple to centre.
Jason Leblebijian singled and scored on a Hernandez base hit off Tyler Lyons in the bottom of the eighth.
Toronto closer Roberto Osuna pitched the ninth and gave up a Greg Garcia double but was saved by a spectacular Roemon Fields catch in centre.
St. Louis starter Michael Wacha went four innings with three hits, no runs and six strikeouts.
It is the fifth consecutive year that the Blue Jays end their pre-season with a pair of games in Montreal, but the first time they were held on week nights. That saw attendance drop from the usual of more than 40,000 for weekend games.
Considering it was a Monday it was still a strong turnout by fans who hope to show that baseball belongs back in Montreal.
They gave a standing ovation to Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin, who grew up in Montreal. Martin went 1 for 3, with a two-out double in the first. Guerrero Jr., also got a warm ovation when he took over at third base in the seventh.
Blue Jays star Josh Donaldson elected to sit out the two games to avoid playing on artificial turf.
On Thursday, Toronto opens the regular season against the New York Yankees while the Cardinals visit the New York Mets.
Before the game, eight former Montreal Expos were introduced on the field – Larry Parrish, Ellis Valentine, Chris Speier, Darren Fletcher, John Wetteland, Ken Hill, Jose Vidro and Warren Cromartie.
The Canadian Press