In a continuation from a rainout on June 14, intrastate rivals the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals played an exciting match in Busch Stadium. Kansas City wasted numerous scoring opportunities
The Royals got to St. Louis starter John Lackey immediately, a good thing considering their previous struggles against the ex-Boston Red Sox starter. Mike Moustakas walked with one out in the top of the first inning. An Eric Hosmer infield single and a Salvador Perez line drive to left scored Moose, and the Royals immediately led 1-0. Alex Rios, who has hit extremely well in the last few weeks, shot a single to center field to net another run as Perez crossed the plate. Royals 2, Evil Ones 0.
Royals starter Chris Young was not his usual, sharp self today, though--and this is a little known fact--his height allowed New Horizons to snap a picture of Young from Pluto's orbit. Regardless, after a clean bottom of the first, Young ran into trouble in the second and third innings. Jason Heyward singled to right field to lead off. Then, center fielder Randal Grichuk hit his 10th homer of the year to even the score at 2 all.
The third inning turned out much the same as the first. Kolten Wong singled on a full count, and Matt Carpenter immediately followed it up with a two-run blast to make it Evil Ones 4, Royals 2. Matt Holliday would double, but no further damage would be done. Kris Medlen would turn in his second relief appearance afterwards, putting up two innings of scoreless relief
Offensively, the Royals looked like they were uninterested in being in St. Louis on what should have been their off day, an opinion echoed by the entire American public. After their two-run first inning, they teased often but did not deliver. The Royals' first looked to score again in the top of the fourth, with Rios on first base and Omar Infante on third base. Ned Yost chose to remove a struggling Young from the game, inserting Kendrys Morales to pinch hit. It was a good decision-Morales put a good swing on a Lackey fastball and hit a line drive. Unfortunately, that line drive was hit directly to Grichuk, and the threat ended.
The Royals were again all bark and no bite in the top of the eighth. Moustakas led off with a nice line drive single over the shift against Randy Choate. Lorenzo Cain harmlessly flied out to center field against righty Seth Maness, who was left in to face Hosmer. Maness made one juicy mistake pitch--a change up low and in the middle of the plate--and Hosmer recognized it. In a result that encapsulated the game, though, Hosmer fouled this pitch back into the seats. Though Hosmer did single up the middle, Perez totally deactivated the threat with a ground ball double play.
What could happen in the ninth but continued drama and inability to finish? Nothing, of course. Trevor Rosenthal, who has been extraordinarily wobbly recently, immediately yielded a single to Rios and a triple to Infante, which scored Rios and brought the game to 4-3 Evil Ones. But, because this is the National League and the National League is stupid, Yost was forced to use Dusty Coleman to pinch hit in this crucial situation. Dusty. Coleman. Coleman struck out on a 97 MPH fastball. Escobar grounded out. Moose grounded out. Game over. Sigh. On a positive note, the Royals were wearing some amazing powder blue throwback uniforms. Can we have modern versions of these, please?
The Royals have played eight games in the past week, and will play another ten before their next scheduled off day on Monday, August 3. They return from the other side of Missouri to Kauffman Stadium for a three-game set against the Houston Astros (and their shiny new pitcher, Scott Kazmir).