Ventura pitched six strong innings, and the Royals grouped five
hits to score three runs in the sixth and beat the St. Louis
Cardinals 3-2 Thursday night.
The Royals won three of four from the Cardinals this in a
home-and-home series, sweeping both games at Busch Stadium before
splitting a pair at Kauffman Stadium.
"Any time you can take three out of four from the Cardinals, it
means a lot," said Kansas City closer Greg Holland, who logged his
Ventura, who skipped his previous start because of a sore elbow,
limited the Cardinals to two runs and seven hits before departing
after 91 pitches, 55 for strikes. He walked two and struck out one.
Ventura (3-5) exited a May 26 start after 2 2/3 innings and 74
pitches to the elbow ailment.
"Everything was good," Ventura said with teammate Bruce Chen acting
as his interpreter. "I wasn't nervous. I was very anxious. I wanted
to pitch well to help the team win."
The Royals managed just two hits the first five innings before
breaking through in the sixth to erase a 2-0 deficit.
Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar and right fielder Nori Aoki
started the sixth with back-to-back doubles. First baseman Eric
Hosmer singled home Aoki for the second run of the inning. Catcher
Salvador Perez's two-out single drove in Hosmer with the go-ahead
"Just enough offense for us to win the game," Royals manager Ned
Right-hander Michael Wacha (4-4) allowed three runs and seven hits.
He walked one and struck out one.
"I made a lot of mistakes tonight, even early on that I got away
with," Wacha said. "I just didn't have the command I needed to get
out of there in that sixth inning. They just kept on putting good
at-bats together, started hitting my mistakes in that sixth.
"I didn't have the command that I'm used to. The cutter wasn't
there. I left a lot of changeups up in the zone that they made me
After Royals relievers Francisley Bueno and Wade Davis worked
perfect innings, Holland was summoned for the ninth and it provided
some perilous moments.
Cardinals right fielder Oscar Taveras led off the ninth with an
infield single, although he was originally called out. A review
showed he was clearly safe, and the call was overturned in 71
seconds. Randal Grichuk pinch-ran for Taveras and moved to second on
a wild pitch, but Holland struck out the final three batters.
"You start getting into the backend of that 'pen and the stuff they
have and the numbers aren't going to lie," Cardinals manager Mike
Matheny said. "These guys have been shutting the door, getting a lot
of strikeouts and swings and misses like we had tonight and a lot of
chases out of the zone. It's hard for guys to get something off of."
The Royals finally got Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter out.
Carpenter, who went 5-for-5 with a walk Wednesday and reached base
in eight consecutive plate appearances, lined out to open Thursday's
game, but it took an exceptional diving catch by Gold Glove left
fielder Alex Gordon to retire him.
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There was a strange occurrence in the bottom of the first when Aoki
went down after being beaned by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.
Yes, he was beaned by the catcher.
Molina's throw back to Wacha struck Aoki in the batting helmet. Aoki
required assistance from the Royals' training staff but remained in
the game, grounding out to shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
"Yadi was real apologetic," Yost said. "Nori was just like, 'OK,
Center fielder Peter Bourjos stroked his team-leading third triple
with two outs in the top of the first, scoring left fielder Jon Jay,
who had singled, for the Cardinals' first run off Ventura.
St. Louis upped the lead to 2-0 in the fourth. Jay singled with two
outs, and Bourjos walked. Carpenter's ground single past Hosmer
brought home Jay.
Wacha faced the minimum numbers of batters through four innings,
allowing only a single to center fielder Lorenzo Cain to lead off
the third. Cain was erased when third baseman Mike Moustakas lined
out to first baseman Allen Craig for a double play.
"I haven't seen a ball hit harder for an out," Yost said.
The Cardinals' eighth loss in 10 games dropped them to 31-30.
"I think we all know we're not playing up to our potential," Wacha
said. "I think if we just keep on grinding and work on getting
better, I think the results will change for sure."
Cardinals rookie second baseman Kolten Wong aggravated his left
shoulder injury, which he first injured Tuesday, and left in the
fifth inning. He said he felt it when he was finishing his swing.
NOTES: On Wednesday, 1B Eric Hosmer became the first Royals player
to strike out four times in a game against the same pitcher
(Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright) since LHP Randy Johnson struck out
Kansas City IF Shane Halter four times on July 18, 1997. ... Royals
RHP Jeremy Guthrie, who starts Friday against the Yankees, has been
received one run of support during his past four starts. ...
Cardinals rookie LHP Sam Freeman has allowed one hit and no runs in
seven relief appearances covering 7 1/3 innings. ... The Cardinals
are in the midst of nine consecutive interleague games before
returning to National League play June 13 with a game against the
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