It was just one of those days Sunday in Kansas City. Fortunately for Royals fans, they haven't had too many of "those days" this year.
The Cardinals had a 2-0 lead before an out was recorded on Sunday afternoon and they never looked back, coasting past the Royals 6-1 to salvage a win in the three-game set. A high percentage of the crowd was dressed in red and probably failed to exceed the 25% percentile on their SAT tests, but they left Kansas City with something to be happy about amidst an otherwise miserable weekend.
After cruising through seven shutout innings on Tuesday without allowing a walk, Yordano Ventura opened Sunday's contest with a four-pitch base on balls to Kolten Wong. It was apparent that Ventura would be squeezed from the beginning, but none of the pitches were close when he then walked Matt Carpenter. After that, it was a check-swing single by Jhonny Peralta and a hammered double off the center field wall by Matt Adams that plated the first two runs of the game. Ventura didn't induce an out himself until the 26th pitch of the game, but he settled down brilliantly after that, retiring 14 straight Cardinal hitters.
Michael Wacha (7-0) became the National League's first pitcher to reach the seven win mark behind seven innings of brilliant pitching. He allowed just one run; an unearned one, at that. The Royals managed to put the leadoff man on in three of the first four frames but did nothing more. In the fifth, Alex Gordon reached second when Peter Bourjos misread a liner, and a Salvador Perez single on the very next pitch drove in the only run of the day for the Royals. Wacha's only other high-pressure inning was the sixth when Kansas City loaded the bases with two outs, but Gordon flied out to right to end the threat.
Right after the Royals cut the lead in half, the Cardinals struck again in the sixth inning. Wong singled to break Ventura's consecutive hitters retired streak, and Carpenter followed that up by smashing a two-run bomb into the right field corner. His eighth home run of the year stretched the score to 4-1, and the Cardinals got two more runs in the eighth on a Yadier Molina single off Luke Hochevar.
Ventura had one of the weirdest streaky days in his career, allowing the first four Cardinals to reach, retired 14 straight, gave up back to back hits, and then got six of the last seven hitters he faced out. He pitched well overall, allowing four runs and five hits in seven innings of work. He struck out seven, his most since April 23. As for Wacha, he also allowed five hits but held Kansas City to one unearned run.
It was a disappointing ending to an otherwise brilliant homestand, but the Royals didn't lose any ground in the American League Central standings. The Tigers blew a 7-3 lead to the Astros, ultimately losing 10-8. Minnesota, meanwhile, is suddenly in the conversation, as the Twins routed the White Sox to move into a second-place tie with Detroit. Both teams are three games back of the Royals.
At 28-15, the Royals head to the Bronx for a three-game series with the New York Yankees. Jeremy Guthrie (4-2, 4.75 ERA) will get the ball for Kansas City having won three straight starts. He'll be opposed by Nathan Eovaldi (3-1, 4.73), who has nearly identical numbers to Guthrie despite having twice as many strikeouts.
Days like this happen. The Royals have won an incredible nine of the 10 three-game series they've played. Now let's make a law where anybody wearing red to Kauffman Stadium shall be ejected from the property...or the planet.