ST. LOUIS (AP) — Adam Wainwright pitched six scoreless innings, Tyler O’Neill hit a three-run homer and drove in five, and the St. Louis Cardinals celebrated Albert Pujols’ return with a 9-0 season-opening win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.
Yadier Molina threw out a runner trying to steal second in the first game of his final big league season, and Nolan Arenado and Tommy Edman also homered for the Cardinals, who won the managerial debut of 35-year-old Oliver Marmol. Paul Goldschmidt drew four straight walks, the first player to do that on opening day since Manny Ramírez in 2002.
The Pirates had just six hits and lost budding star Ke’Bryan Hayes to left forearm spasms in the first inning — just hours after news began to spread that Hayes had agreed to a $70 million, eight-year deal.
Fans stood and cheered Pujols for nearly a full minute prior to his first at-bat, a flyout to left in the first inning. The 42-year-old played 11 seasons in St. Louis (2001-2011) and helped the Cardinals to a pair of World Series championships before leaving to join the Los Angeles Angels.
Pujols, who signed a one-year deal with St. Louis last month, was 0 for 5.
Wainwright (1-0) allowed five hits in his sixth opening day start and first since 2016. The 40-year-old struck out six and did not walk a batter. He and the 39-year-old Molina made their 305th start as a battery, fourth-most in major league history. Molina made his franchise-record 18th successive opening day start.
O’Neill had an RBI single in the first, then broke the game open with a line-drive homer to left in the second inning against starter JT Brubaker (0-1) for a 4-0 lead.
Wainwright wriggled out of his only jam in the fourth by getting Kevin Newman to ground into an inning-ending double play with two runners on base. Wainwright has not allowed a run against Pittsburgh in his last 32 innings.
Yoshi Tsutsugo had two hits for Pittsburgh, which opened the season on the road for the sixth successive season. Relievers Nick Wittgren, Genesis Cabrera, and Ryan Helsley combined on the six-hit shutout.
Brubaker allowed four runs over three innings. He struck out two and walked three.