ST. LOUIS (AP) — Nolan Gorman hit a pair of two-run homers, including a drive that capped a three-homer first inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-4 on Sunday.
Brendan Donovan and Alec Burleson also homered to start the game off Chris Bassitt, who made his debut for the Blue Jays.
Bassitt (0-1) signed a three-year, $63 million deal in December, gave up the three homers on the first 14 pitches and ended up allowing nine runs and 10 hits over 3 1/3 innings for a 24.30 ERA.
“You’ve got to go back to his offseason, that’s where the changes really took place,” manager Oliver Marmol said of Gorman’s plate discipline. “He was tasked with making some changes. Immediately in spring, you could tell we had a different player. Mechanically and his overall personality. There’s a calmness and confidence in what he is doing,”
Gorman has two homers and six RBI in nine at-bats so far this season.
“It’s good to see it’s coming together,” Gorman said. “The confidence is definitely building. I’ve just got to continue it.”
Gorman had the second two-homer game in his career, the first last June 21 at Milwaukee.
St. Louis has 22 runs and 41 hits in winning two of three.
“There’s no break is this lineup, no break for the (opposing) arm,” Donovan said. “You just pass the baton around. That’s the great thing about this.”
Jordan Montgomery (1-0) gave up three runs and six hits over five innings.
“It was good enough to get the win, that’s what matters,” Montgomery said.
Donovan, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games, paced a 16-hit attack with two doubles and his first home run this season. He teamed with Burleson to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead after just three pitches.
Donovan, a leadoff hitter, is known for working pitchers deep in counts. This time, he jumped on Bassitt’s first offering.
“I saw a good pitch that I could get a good swing off,” Donovan said. “That’s the result you hope for.
Dylan Carlson added three hits for the Cardinals in his first start of the season.
Toronto scored twice in the top of the second to climb to within 4-3. Danny Jansen and Matt Chapman drove in runs, and Daulton Varsho had two hits.
Bassitt allowed a career-high nine earned runs and four home runs.
“I’ve never had a game like this where six different pitches were hit hard,” Bassitt said. “Sometimes you’ve just got to say they’re a really good team and hit the heck out of it.”
St. Louis catcher Willson Contreras, who signed an $87.5 million, five-year contract as a free agent in December, returned to the lineup and had two hits. He left Thursday’s game after taking a Jordan Hicks pitch off a kneecap.
ICHIRO AND ARENADO
St. Louis third baseman Nolan Arenado was presented a Gold Glove prior to the contest. His is the second player in MLB history to begin his career with 10 successive Gold Glove, joining Seattle outfielder Ichiro Suzuki from 2001-10.
THERE’S NO GOING HOME
The Blue Jays are playing their first 10 games on the road as Roger Centre renovations are completed. It ties 1984 as the team’s longest road swing to start the season.
Cardinals: OF Lars Nootbaar missed his second successive game with a sore thumb. He is expected to be available Monday, Marmol said.
Blue Jays: Toronto RHP José Berríos (12-7, 5.23) takes on Kansas City RHP Brady Singer (10-5, 3.23) in the first of a four-game set on Monday in Kansas City.
Cardinals: St. Louis RHP Jake Woodford (4-0, 2.23 last season) will face Atlanta RHP Charlie Morton in the first of a three-game series Monday. Woodford is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in six career appearances against Atlanta.
Steve Overbey, The Associated Press