It didn't take long for the Cardinals to get on the board against Yordano Ventura. After a quick first inning, the Cardinals strung together a two-out rally consisting of a Randal Grichuk infield single, Jon Jay triple, and Jaime Garcia single, pushing two runs across the plate and frustrating the young Royals' hurler in the process.
Those two runs were all the Cardinals would need, though they would add two more late in the game.
Jaime Garcia did nothing but throw strikes, living in the zone, daring the Royals to punish him. They did not.
The Royals' first four hits were essentially infield singles. Only Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Salvador Perez hit balls out of the infield, all hitting routine fly balls to the outfield. They flailed helplessly at Garcia's sinker, unable to get good wood on anything he threw.
What is probably more concerning--and clearly he has been the most concerning issue in Kansas City throughout this season--was Yordano Ventura's early exit from the game. Ventura completed just three innings before Ned Yost brought in Joe Blanton to start the fourth. Ventura was hardly sharp, but his pitch count sat at 52 through those three frames, and he escaped the self-created two-out messes he got into without cratering the Royals' chances for victory (small sample size alert).
By the time the eighth rolled around, Andy McCullough had finally gotten the reason for Ventura's departure:
Yordano Ventura left the game due to right hand weakness.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) June 13, 2015
I do not know what it means, but I know what the hand is attached to in the arm.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) June 13, 2015
Ventura dealt with a valgus extension overload last year. One of the symptoms of that injury is weakness in the hand. I'm not a doctor.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) June 13, 2015
With the amount of money invested in Ventura and the myriad issues he has had thus far this season, it would not be shocking at all to see him put on the disabled list shortly. Royals fans may also get to see an old top prospect as a result.
John Lamb was pulled from his start in Omaha after four scoreless innings. Could be related, could be unrelated.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) June 13, 2015
Back to tonight's game, Joe Blanton, Franklin Morales, and Ryan Madson, all did what the Royals' bullpen does, not ceding a run from the fourth through the seventh. Luke Hochevar should have accomplished the same feat, but Alex Rios blew a routine fly ball in the gap in right, allowing Jason Heyward to score from first with one out and sending Grichuk all the way to third on the error. A fly ball to left later (with a close throw at the plate from Alex Gordon), and the Cardinals held a 4 - 0 lead.
Unfortunately for the Royals, the 2 - 0 lead that the Cardinals built in the second was more than enough (to make no mention of the two unearned insurance runs in the eighth), as Jaime Garcia threw eight scoreless before turning the game over to Kevin Siegrist. Eric Hosmer ripped a two-out single to right in the ninth, and Salvador Perez jumped up 2-0 before popping up to third, a fitting ending to a woeful night for the Royals' offense--an attack that mustered five singles, one that left the infield.