The I-70 series has been one-sided of late, in part due to Carlos Beltran 's solid performances against his former team.
He'll look to help the St. Louis Cardinals win a sixth straight meeting while sending the visiting Kansas City Royals to an eighth consecutive defeat Wednesday night.
Beltran was named AL Rookie of the Year in 1999 with Kansas City before being traded to Houston midway through the 2004 season when the sides couldn't agree on a contract extension.
He didn't face the Royals until signing with St. Louis prior to last season, but he's hitting .361 with two homers and 11 RBIs in helping the Cardinals win six of eight matchups.
Beltran went 2 for 4 with a two-run homer in Tuesday's 4-1 victory in Kansas City, helping St. Louis (34-17) earn its sixth victory in seven tries. He had gone 0 for 9 over his previous three games.
Matt Carpenter homered and is hitting .414 over his six-game hitting streak for the Cardinals, who finished their road trip 6-2.
Kansas City may be happy to hit the road even if it's not all that far away, as Tuesday's defeat tied the franchise record of 10 straight home losses set last season.
The Royals (21-28) have been outscored 35-13 during their seven-game losing streak and mustered only two hits in the latest defeat - both from Billy Butler , including an RBI double in the first inning."What are you asking me to do? Take my belt off and spank them? Yell at them, scream at them? What do you want?" manager Ned Yost asked. "Do we need to make changes? This can't continue. Somewhere down the road, we're going to have to make some changes."
Butler, hitting .370 in his last eight versus the Cardinals, has gone 5 for 9 over his last three after going hitless in 12 at-bats over his previous four.
Kansas City will look to get its offense going against Lance Lynn , who hopes he's back on track after a solid outing.
Lynn (7-1, 2.95 ERA) posted a 5.25 ERA while walking seven over his previous two starts, but he bounced back and scattered two hits while striking out nine in six innings of a 7-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.
He left after 77 pitches, though, due to tightness in his lower back.
"We made the decision that we'll let the bullpen finish it from there and we'll get ready for the next one," Lynn said. "It was a good time not to hurt myself and let some guys get some work."
The right-hander struggled in his only start versus the Royals, giving up six runs and nine hits - including three homers- in 5 1-3 innings of an 11-8 loss June 24.
Lynn will be opposed by Luis Mendoza (1-2, 5.05), who walked a season-worst four but gave up only one run in five innings of Kansas City's 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. He suffered a minor left knee injury covering home plate after a wild pitch in the third inning, but he isn't concerned.
"I'll be ready for my next start," Mendoza said.
The right-hander, 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA over his last three starts, is 0-1 with a 5.23 ERA in two starts versus the Cardinals after allowing four runs in 4 1-3 innings of an 8-2 defeat June 23.
|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|
|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|
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The rally came too late for Lance Lynn to get another win. Just in time, though, for the St. Louis Cardinals to keep the scuffling Kansas City Royals down.
Pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso hit a two-run single with the bases loaded to snap a tie in a four-run eighth and the Cardinals rallied for a 5-3 win Wednesday night, the Royals' season-high eighth straight loss.
"It was a good comeback, we haven't had to do that a lot this year," Descalso said. "Of course, I wanted to be in that spot.
"You've got to like that spot."
Luis Mendoza got his first career hit and RBI and held the Cardinals to a run in 5 2-3 innings before the bullpen failed for the Royals. They dropped the first two games of the interleague series by a combined 10-4 score and have totaled 11 runs the last six games.
"We felt like we had it set up," manager Ned Yost said. "We just needed to execute. We battled hard to get the three runs."
Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran homered for the second straight night. The Cardinals have won seven of eight overall, lead the majors with a 35-17 record, and go for a sweep Thursday with touted rookie Michael Wacha making his major league debut.
"It was great, no doubt about that," Beltran said. "We took advantage of their bullpen and we were able to come out big."
Randy Choate (1-0) got the last out in the eighth and Edward Mujica finished for his 17th save in 17 chances, retiring the side in order for the second straight game.
Lynn missed a chance to start out 8-1 for the second straight season, allowing two runs in seven innings but getting hurt most by Mendoza's hit.
Mendoza joked his last hit was "when I was 10 years old, probably."
"I know he is going to throw a strike, just hit the ball," the pitcher added.
Beltran hit his 12th homer off Aaron Crow (0-1) to open the eighth and David Freese tied it with a one-out RBI single. Crow intentionally walked Jon Jay to load the bases, then got Pete Kozma on a called third strike before Descalso bounced one up the middle for his first pinch-hit RBIs of the season.
The Cardinals have won six in a row in the series. They'd been 0-12 when trailing after seven innings before getting to Crow, who allowed five hits and four runs while getting just two outs and said Beltran homered on a "real bad pitch."
"The worst I've ever pitched in my career by far," Crow said. "I feel like I let everyone in this clubhouse down tonight."
Royals rookie David Lough had two hits for a two-game total of six and threw out a runner at the plate. Alex Gordon had three hits and Lorenzo Cain and George Kottaras had an RBI apiece.
The Busch Stadium field showed little signs of wear six days after the mound was removed and the infield dirt covered with sod for an exhibition soccer match between English Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester City that drew a standing room crowd.
Mendoza retired the side in order in the first, a welcome change for the Royals after Molina and Beltran opened with two-run homers the first two games.
Lough tripled to start the fifth and was still there with two outs before Mendoza, who'd been 0 for 6 with five strikeouts for his career, singled to right to put the Royals up 2-0. Mendoza passed on what would have been a double for most players, taking his time getting to first and then speeding up briefly before slamming on the brakes.
The Royals traveled Interstate 70 by bus for the second half of the interleague series after difficulties with the team flight.
Lough earned his second outfield assist, throwing out Allen Craig trying to score from second and tie it at 1 in the fourth on a single by Yadier Molina .
Notes: Mike Moustakas returned for the Royals after missing three games with quad tightness and had two hits. ... Gordon entered with an AL-leading .394 road batting average and is among the leaders with multihit games. .. Beltran saved at least one run in the seventh with a sliding catch on a drive near the RF line by Cain. ... Cardinals 2B Matt Carpenter made an outstanding play in the second, diving to his right to snare a liner by Chris Getz , the only hard-hit ball from the Royals the first time through the order.