Escobar's 12th-inning double lifts Royals over Cards

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[June 30, 2016]  ST. LOUIS -- Alcides Escobar took a simple approach to the plate in the top of the 12th inning Wednesday night.

"I just tried to put the ball in play," he said.

The Royals shortstop did that and more, lining a tiebreaking double just inside the right field line that lifted Kansas City to a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Escobar's hit scored Whit Merrifield, who hustled out a double and moved to third on a wild pitch by reliever Seth Maness (0-2). The winning drive landed just in front of a diving Stephen Piscotty, who was hoping the ball would slice foul.

"If I catch that ball, he tags and scores," Piscotty said of Merrifield. "Unfortunately for me and the team, it was fair."

The hit made a winner of reliever Chien-Ming Wang (5-0), who retired all six men he faced as Kansas City (41-36) won for just the 14th time in 39 road games.

The Royals squandered a plethora of opportunities during the four-hour, 28-minute game. Despite putting a man on base in every inning but the ninth, Kansas City stranded a season-high 19 runners, its most in a game since May 18, 1995, when it left 23 in a 14-inning game against the Seattle Mariners.

"There was no gathering momentum in that game," said Royals manager Ned Yost, whose team went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position. "It was one of those nights where the pitching was really good. We were both just trying to scratch out runs."

Neither team scored until Escobar's one-out, bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the eighth off reliever Jonathan Broxton, who hadn't allowed a run in his previous 12 outings.

One out from a 1-0 shutout loss, St. Louis (40-37) forced extra innings when Jhonny Peralta grounded a single to left off closer Wade Davis, scoring Greg Garcia from second. It was just Davis' second blown save in 20 attempts.

Kansas City used St. Louis gifts to regain the lead in its half of the 10th. Cheslor Cuthbert drew a leadoff walk from reliever Seung Hwan Oh and advanced to third on Oh's two-base error on a wild pickoff attempt with one out.

Following an intentional walk to Jarrod Dyson, Merrifield bounced a potential double-play ball up the middle, but second baseman Matt Carpenter booted it for St. Louis' third error of the night as Cuthbert scored.

However, Piscotty evened the score in the bottom of the 10th with a 427-foot homer off Joakim Soria, his ninth of the year.

"It says a lot about us as a road team that we got a couple of leads, they came back, and we still pulled it out," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "We had to do whatever we could to pick the bullpen up, because we know that doesn't happen to them often."

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Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (2) hits an RBI double to right field, driving in Whit Merrifield (not pictured) during the twelfth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. The Royals won the game 3-2 in 12 innings. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Wasted in the Cardinals' sixth consecutive home loss was another excellent performance from starter Carlos Martinez. He fired six shutout innings, scattering eight hits and walking one while fanning three. In his last six starts, Martinez has a 1.06 ERA.

Kansas City starter Edinson Volquez bounced back from a disastrous outing against Houston on Friday night, when he gave up 12 runs while getting only three outs. Volquez worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings Wednesday, yielding six hits and a walk with four strikeouts.

"He had a bad start, but he was good tonight," Yost said of Volquez. "He had everything going for him. He was good right from the beginning."

The inability to get to Volquez, coupled with shaky defense in the 10th and Escobar's clutch hitting, dropped St. Louis to 15-22 at Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals were 55-26 last year en route to 100 wins and their third straight NL Central title.

"I didn't know until just now what the record was," Piscotty said of the Cardinals' struggles at home. "It's game-to-game for myself and a lot of guys on the team."

NOTES: Kansas City placed CF Lorenzo Cain (left hamstring strain) on the 15-day disabled list and recalled OF Brett Eibner from Triple-A Omaha. Cain was injured Tuesday night while trying to beat out a grounder in the seventh inning. ... St. Louis SS Aledmys Diaz (eye) took grounders before the game but didn't play for a second straight game. He fouled a pitch off his eye in the ninth inning Monday night. ... Royals 1B/DH Kendrys Morales started his first game in the outfield Wednesday night since 2008. He went 3-for-4 as the right fielder.

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