Wednesday, June 04, 2014
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Royals Bats Continue To Explode In Win Over Cardinals

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[June 04, 2014]  ST. LOUIS -- Less than a week ago, Kansas City's offense led to a shakeup in the team's coaching staff after a home sweep at Houston's hands.

Tuesday night, the Royals' bats continued their trend from underachieving to exploding.

Overcoming deficits of 4-0 and 7-6, Kansas City won in the ninth inning when first baseman Eric Hosmer's single scored second baseman Omar Infante to secure an 8-7 triumph at sold-out Busch Stadium.

Reliever Wade Davis (5-1) pitched the eighth for the win and Greg Holland picked up his 16th save for the Royals (28-30), who finished a 4-2 road trip and start an eight-game homestand Wednesday night as the Cardinals head across Missouri to complete the home-and-home series.

Trevor Rosenthal (0-3) gave up a first-pitch double to Infante with one out in the ninth. Hosmer slapped an 0-1 pitch to left and Infante easily beat Matt Holliday's throw.

"It went both ways," left fielder Alex Gordon said. "We came back and so they did. It went back-and-forth. A lot of clutch hits by both teams, so it was good for our team to get the clutch hits when we needed them."

Since Dale Sveum replaced Pedro Grifol as hitting coach before Thursday night's 8-6, 10-inning win in Toronto, Kansas City is averaging 4.8 runs per game, scoring six or more runs in all four wins during their trip.

Sveum said when his duties changed that the Royals weren't doing enough damage on pitches up in the strike zone. That wasn't the case in a six-run fifth, when they lit up Jaime Garcia for two doubles, a triple and Gordon's three-run homer that capped the sudden rally and gave them a 6-4 lead.

"I never felt like we were in real jeopardy," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "I have always felt like this was a good offensive team. I feel better about where we're at now than we were about 10 days ago."

Still, the Royals needed another rally when center fielder Peter Bourjos, who entered the game as part of a double-switch in the sixth, launched a 422-foot homer in the bottom of the inning. That gave St. Louis a 7-6 lead.

Kansas City erased that deficit in the eighth, reaching reliever Pat Neshek for his first run since April 9. Shortstop Alcides Escobar, whose triple opened scoring in the fifth, flipped a two-out flare into right-center to plate catcher Salvador Perez with the equalizer.

"I think he did that to me about two years ago," said Neshek of Escobar. "I've had some games where my teammates made some great plays and that changed the game. Tonight, that didn't happen for me. That's baseball."

It was a fitting ending to a bad homestand for St. Louis (30-29), which went 2-7, losing its last three games. It was swept by Kansas City at home for the first time since interleague play started in 1997.

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The Cardinals snapped a 20-inning scoreless streak in the second when rookie second baseman Kolten Wong launched his first major league homer, a two-out grand slam to right-center off a hanging changeup from starter James Shields.

St. Louis tied it up in the fifth with two unearned runs. Rookie right fielder Oscar Taveras lofted a sacrifice fly and shortstop Jhonny Peralta grounded a two-out double down the left field to plate first baseman Allen Craig.

Shields left in the sixth after allowing nine hits and seven runs, five earned, over 5 1/3 innings, with four walks and one strikeout. But the Royals bullpen shut things down by permitting just one hit over 3 2/3 innings.

"That game was a grinder," Yost summed up. "The defense, the offense, the pitching ... they grinded their way to a win. It was a great game all the way around."

Garcia was touched for eight hits and six runs in five innings, walking none and fanning three.

NOTES: St. Louis 2B Kolten Wong was selected the National League Rookie of the Month for May. In 13 games after being called up from Triple-A Memphis on May 15, Wong batted .333 with six RBIs and a .418 on-base percentage. ... Kansas City LHP Bruce Chen (back) started a rehab assignment Tuesday night for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Chen was 1-2 with a 7.45 ERA in four starts before going on the disabled list retroactive to April 25. ... The Cardinals honored OF Randal Grichuk and RHP Chris Perry as their Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month, respectively. Grichuk hit seven homers at Memphis to earn his second call-up to St. Louis, while Perry fanned 40 batters over 19 2/3 innings for Class A Peoria.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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