ST. LOUIS >> It took a little while for the St. Louis Cardinals bats to get going during Thursday’s day-night doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Once they did, they made a big difference.
After rallying late to win the first game, backed by Randal Grichuk’s ninth-inning homer and Matt Carpenter’s 11th inning grand slam, the Cardinals scored early and often in the nightcap to beat the Blue Jays 6-4 and sweep the doubleheader.
“Overall it’s a good day,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “You walk out of here with two wins today. Having our back against the wall in the first one, that’s impressive. I think it says a lot about these guys.”
The Cardinals, who got back to .500 at 11-11, recorded 14 runs and 25 hits in the two games. The injury-plagued Blue Jays, the only team in the majors yet to win a series or consecutive games, fell to 6-16.
“Today was a big day,” said Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright (2-3), who earned the win in the nightcap. “We swept a doubleheader here at home. We wanted to play better ball at home this year. That’s one thing we know we’ve got to do and we know we can do.”
The Cardinals, who got three hits apiece from Dexter Fowler, Greg Garcia and Matt Adams in the second game, scored three times in the first inning.
After Fowler and Garcia hit back-to-back singles, Carpenter plated a run with a groundout and Stephen Piscotty hit an RBI sacrifice fly. Grichuk followed with an infield single and scored on Matt Adams’ opposite-field double into the left field corner.
Fowler added a solo home run, his third of the season, in the second inning. Adams had an RBI single in the third. Piscotty had an RBI fielder’s choice in the fourth to make it 6-0.
Matt Bowman (1-0) won the opener and the Cardinals’ bullpen, which included seven different pitchers, combined to allow just one run on four hits in 7 2/3 innings over the two games.
Ryan Tepera (1-1) and Casey Lawrence (0-3) took the losses.
“It could have been a good day,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “Tough first ballgame, then we fell behind early. We made a run. Long, tough day getting swept.”
In the opener, the Cardinals scored four times off Toronto’s bullpen in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to tie the score, capped by Randal Grichuk’s homer off Roberto Osuna.
Yadier Molina led off with a double and Grichuk connected two outs later, giving Osuna his third blown save.
Mat Latos, making his second start of the season for Toronto, scattered three hits over six shutout innings, striking out four and walking four.
Carlos Martinez allowed three runs on five hits in six innings, with eight strikeouts and three walks.
Russell Martin hit a solo homer in the second, his third of the year.
“Over the last week and a half or so we’ve been playing some pretty good baseball,” Garcia said. “To come back in the fashion we did in that first game off a good closer and a good team over there that competed was big for us. Come out, get on those guys early and just kind of play well.”
IN THE CROWD
Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban, who had a goal and two assists in his team’s 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues in the opener of their second-round playoff series Wednesday night, sat near the Blue Jays’ dugout on his team’s off day.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (blister on right index finger) is expected to throw a side session on Friday and could start Sunday against Tampa Bay. If Sanchez starts Sunday, RHP Marco Estrada will pitch Monday.
Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (2-3, 3.10) will face the visiting Tampa Bay Rays. Stroman is coming off a complete-game win over the Angels where he allowed two runs on seven hits.
Cardinals: RHP Lance Lynn (2-1, 2.70) opens a three-game series against the visiting Reds. Lynn won his last two starts, against the Pirates and Brewers, allowing just one run on six hits over 13 innings.