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Gray tosses five innings in Cardinals debut, win over Phillies

Sonny Gray St. Louis Cardinals Sonny Gray - The Canadian Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Sonny Gray tossed five innings in his St. Louis debut, and the Cardinals shut out the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0 on Tuesday night.

Gray (1-0) allowed five hits, struck out five and walked none. The 34-year-old right-hander threw 43 of his 64 pitches for strikes.

“What he did today was pretty incredible,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “There’s a lot to be excited about with having him healthy again because he hasn’t pitched in front of a crowd in a while. To go out and control his overall emotions and not try to do too much, he was under control the whole time, landed six pitches for strikes. That was pretty dominant.”

Gray signed a $75 million, three-year contract with St. Louis in free agency. He missed the start of the season after he hurt his right hamstring in a spring training game against Washington on March 4.

Gray said he “felt at home” in his return.

"I felt more calm, cool, collected, confident today than I have in any of the rehab outings, sims, (live BPs),” he said.

After Gray departed, Matthew Liberatore, Andrew Kittredge and JoJo Romero combined for three innings before Ryan Helsley handled the ninth for his fourth save in five chances this season.

Philadelphia right-hander Zack Wheeler (0-2) permitted three runs and six hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked one.

“He's pitched great,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “Tonight he was really, really good. The sinker was great, the command was great, the split was good. We just haven't been able to score for him.”

Wheeler had allowed just two earned runs in 35 1/3 innings over his last five regular-season and postseason starts against St. Louis.

Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto departed with a neck contusion after he was hit by a Wheeler wild pitch in the seventh. Wheeler was pitching to Brendan Donovan when he bounced an 0-1 curveball, catching Realmuto on the right side of his neck, above the collarbone, and knocking off his mask.

Philadelphia medical staff examined Realmuto before the 33-year-old walked off the field under his own power.

“You never want to see that,” Wheeler said. “I feel bad for spiking that and him having to come out of the game.”

Thomson said Realmuto will be checked again on Wednesday.

“It doesn’t look like there’s any broken bones,” Thomson said.

St. Louis jumped in front on Nolan Gorman's third homer of the season in the fourth.

The Cardinals added two more in the fifth. Rookie Victor Scott II hit a sacrifice fly, and Donovan drove in Masyn Winn with a groundout.

Philadelphia threatened in the seventh. Bryson Stott and Nick Castellanos reached on infield singles against Kittredge. Romero walked Brandon Marsh to load the bases before striking out Whit Merrifield and Kyle Schwarber to end the inning.

“We're struggling to score runs,” Thomson said. “We had three opportunities tonight and two double plays and in the seventh we had two strikeouts. That will change. I always talk about it, and I have full confidence we're going to score runs.”


Phillies: RHP Orion Kerkering (right forearm strain) pitched a scoreless inning in a rehabilitation appearance for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Cardinals: C Willson Contreras (sore left hand) went 0 for 3 in his return to the lineup as the designated hitter. He was hit by a pitch last week at San Diego. Contreras said he still can’t squeeze a glove but hopes to return to catching on Friday in Arizona.


Phillies RHP Aaron Nola (1-1, 5.40 ERA) faces Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn (0-0, 4.15 ERA) on Wednesday.