The Cardinals can earn a sixth straight road win in the series by extending the Royals' home skid to nine games Monday.
St. Louis (32-17) has won 16 of 23 versus Kansas City, including five straight and 11 of 14 at Kauffman Stadium. The Cardinals have scored 39 runs in the last four at Kansas City, and enter this series winners in 18 of 24 after a 5-3 victory at Dodger Stadium on Sunday.
That does not bode for the Royals (21-26), who have dropped five in a row and 16 of 20. Their eight-game home slide is the longest since an 0-10 start last year.
"We need wins and wins give confidence, and that's what we need right now," designated hitter Billy Butler told the Royals' official website after he was ejected in Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels .
"Winning against (the Cardinals) would actually mean more because that is a big one. That is a big confidence shift, big momentum for us."
Butler is 1 for 14 in the last five games and gone without an RBI in eight straight. He's a lifetime .220 hitter at home versus St. Louis.
Wainwright (6-3, 2.38 ERA) is 3-1 with a 3.09 ERA in five starts against the Royals. He allowed three runs in 14 innings to go 1-0 versus Kansas City in 2012.
"Wainwright is going to be tough," Butler said.
The right-hander gave up a run and four hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 10-2 win at San Diego on Tuesday. He was able to rely on a changeup that has not always been working for him this season.
"It's one of those things where the conviction wasn't (previously) there to throw it," Wainwright told the Cardinals' official website. "Part of the way you make a mediocre pitch better is that you don't think about getting beat with it.
"(On Tuesday) I threw it with conviction, and I believed it would do what it was supposed to do."
Ex-Royal Carlos Beltran batted .379 (11 for 29) with a homer and nine RBIs last season in his first action against Kansas City since it traded him to Houston in 2004. Beltran is one of three Cardinals to have faced scheduled Kansas City starter James Shields (2-5, 2.47).
He's 0 for 3 versus Shields, while Matt Holliday is 3 for 8 with two doubles against him.
Shields faces St. Louis for the first time hoping to receive some much-needed run support and avoid a fourth straight losing start. He is 0-3 with a 1.74 ERA in his last four outings during which his teammates have totaled five runs.
The right-hander allowed a two-run homer in the first inning and none the next six while striking out seven without a walk in Wednesday's 3-1 loss at Houston."It's a little frustrating," manager Ned Yost said. "Especially when James Shields goes out and gives you the type of performance he gives you about every time he goes out. We just have not done a good job with run support with him at all."
After two in Kansas City, the teams play Wednesday and Thursday in St. Louis.
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|May 26, 2013||John Gast||15-Day DL||Left shoulder tightness|
|May 26, 2013||Carlos Beltran||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder soreness|
|May 25, 2013||John Gast||Day-to-Day||Left game - left shoulder tightness|
|May 21, 2013||Fernando Salas||15-Day DL||Right shoulder irritation|
|May 18, 2013||Jaime Garcia||15-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
|May 09, 2013||Jake Westbrook||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|Kansas City Royals|
|May 16, 2013||Jarrod Dyson||15-Day DL||Right ankle sprain|
|March 31, 2013||Danny Duffy||15-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|February 12, 2013||Felipe Paulino||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Yadier Molina looked perfectly comfortable in the No. 2 spot in the lineup.
Batting second for only the third time in his career, Molina homered and drove in four runs to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the slumping Kansas City Royals 6-3 on Monday.
Molina hit a two-run homer in the first inning and doubled home a run in the third before his sacrifice fly in the fourth scored Pete Kozma .
"Yadier is pretty flexible," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We like him wherever he hits. Today he did a nice job hitting in the second position."
Molina had batted fifth 40 times and sixth seven times this year.
"It doesn't matter for me," he said. "I've got the same approach: I'm going to be aggressive."
While the Cardinals own the best road record in the majors at 19-9, the Royals dropped their ninth straight home game - one shy of the franchise record set last year.
"We're playing good," Molina said. "We've got some good offense. Right now, we're seeing the ball pretty good. We're finding some holes. We're showing the people we've got a pretty good team. Hopefully we can continue to do that for the rest of the season."
The anticipated pitchers' duel between Adam Wainwright and James Shields failed to materialize.
Wainwright (7-3) struck out five and walked none in eight innings for the win. He allowed 12 hits, his most since Sept. 14, 2010, against the Chicago Cubs . The right-hander gave up 12 hits over 22 1-3 innings in his previous three starts.
"Early on, they got some hits off some bad pitches and I felt like as the game went on they put some really good at-bats against me and hit some good pitches as well," Wainwright said. "I broke several of their bats and they found holes. The got some good hits as well on good pitches. I think as a pitcher no matter what happens on the other side you just have to keep battling and keep making pitches and eventually if you keep making pitches things will work out."
Edward Mujica gave up a hit in the ninth but earned his 15th save in as many opportunities.
Shields (2-6) yielded nine hits and season highs of six runs and five walks over six innings while losing his fourth straight start.
"I wasn't commanding my fastball and I was getting behind in the count and then I started walking guys," Shields said. "We've just got to gut it out. We've got great effort in here."
After rain delayed the start for 62 minutes, the Cardinals opened the game with Matt Carpenter 's single and Molina's third home run.
It was the first time Molina had faced Shields.
"Shields is a good pitcher," Molina said. "My brother (caught) him in Tampa. I watched him a bunch of times on TV. I've got a pretty good idea what he brings to the table. He made a couple of mistakes in the middle and I took advantage."
Royals rookie David Lough , who had a career-high four hits, led off the first with a double and scored on Alex Gordon 's single.
Molina's double in the third scored Daniel Descalso . Molina scored on Allen Craig 's single.
The Royals answered with two runs in the bottom half. Gordon scored on a wild pitch and Eric Hosmer contributed an RBI single.
The Cardinals expanded their lead in the sixth when Carpenter's double scored Descalso, who had three hits and a walk.
"We showed some life," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We had Wainwright on the ropes, but we couldn't get the big hit."
NOTES: Cardinals RHP Jake Westbrook threw all his pitches in a bullpen session and experienced no pain in the tender elbow that put him on the disabled list May 9. After that, Westbrook canceled an afternoon flight to see Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his elbow. ... The Cardinals optioned RHP Carlos Martinez to Triple-A Memphis, where he will start after seven relief appearances in the majors. The 21-year-old Martinez has primarily been a starter in the minors. ... The Cardinals scratched pitching prospect Michael Wacha from a Sunday start with Memphis. He could start Thursday at St. Louis against the Royals. "We're still checking our options," Matheny said. ... 3B Mike Moustakas was held out of the Royals' lineup with a bruised quadriceps, but was available if needed. ... The Cardinals recalled RHP Victor Marte from Memphis, where he had 10 saves. ... LF Matt Holliday , in an 0-for-14 skid, was not in the Cardinals' lineup.