Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Cardinals take opener of I-70 Series

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  • KANSAS CITY – The first pitch of Monday’s I-70 Series opener on Memorial Day was pushed back 62 minutes because of bad weather, but it didn’t affect the sea of red outnumbering the home blue crowd at Kauffman Stadium. Those visiting Cardinals fans who made the trek were rewarded with a St. Louis victory as the Redbirds doubled-up the Royals 6-3.
    “We knew before the first pitch. We could see the red in the stands,” Cardinals’ skipper Mike Matheny said. “That is how it always is. There are Royals fans that make their way to St. Louis too and I think that is part of the enjoyment for the fan base, they can go see their team in a different venue and not have to go too far. We knew they were there out today.”
    With Adam Wainwright on the mound, a low scoring game was to be expected. Even though the Royals were able to get to Wainwright early, the Cardinals’ ace still battled.
    “He was fighting the whole time through,” Matheny said. “(Kansas City) had some things fall through and we had some things fall in for us too. We knew it was going to be a tough game as we headed into this thing and there was nobody we would rather have on the mound.”
    While Wainwright limited the damage the Royals did against him, Kansas City was unable to stop Wainwright’s battery-mate, Yadier Molina. Molina made sure that once the Cardinals got the lead, they never trailed.
    Molina and the Cardinals’ offense went right to work in the first inning. Matt Carpenter led off the game with a single and Molina, batting in the two-hole, drilled pitch 409 feet into the left center seats for an early 2-0 lead.
    “Anytime you can score first, it is a good sign,” Molina said. “That is what you want. You want to score first and to get comfortable.”
    In the third inning, with one out, Molina added onto St. Louis’ lead with an RBI double to left-center. Daniel Descalso scored on the hit. After Carlos Beltran walked for the second time, Allen Craig drove in Molina for his 36th RBI of the season with a single.
    Molina continued to hurt the Royals in the fourth when he crushed a ball to right-center for a sacfly, putting the Cardinals up 5-3.
    St. Louis (33-17) added another run in the sixth. With two outs, Descalso beat out an infield single and then scored on a double by Carpenter to increase the lead to 6-3.
    Kansas City (21-27) scored once in the first and added two more in the third, but that was all the Royals would get.
    Page 2 of 3 - “Early on, they got some hits off some bad pitches,” Wanwright said. “They had some really good at bats against me and they hit some good pitches as well.”
    Wainwright (7-3) came into the game having allowed an average of 6.4 hits per game over his first 10 starts and nearly doubled that as he scattered a season-high 12 hits on the day.
    “I think as a pitcher, no matter what is happening, you just have to keep battling and keep making pitches,” Wainwright said. “Eventually, if you keep making pitches, things will work out.”
    Of all the Royals hits, 10 came in the first four innings and only two in the next four.
    “He was certainly more efficient the last two innings,” Matheny said. “He has got so many different weapons that he can approach them completely different in the last two at bats than he does in the first two.”
    Overall, Wainwright pitched eight innings. He walked none, but did hit a batter. The Cardinals’ ace didn’t record his first 1-2-3 inning until the bottom of the fifth and finished the day with five strikeouts.
    “As the game wore on, I felt more and more comfortable,” Wainwright said. “It’s a shame I was inefficient earlier or I would have been able to go nine.”
    Edward Mujica came in and aside from a two-out hit up the middle, set the Royals down with no issues to record his 15th save of the season.
    St. Louis knocked out 12 hits with four players recording multi-hit games. Molina, Craig, Carpenter, and Descalso all turned in multiple base knocks.
    Molina powered the offense, going 2-for-2 with 4 RBIs, two runs scored, a walk, and intentional walk, and a sacfly.
    “We are playing good,” Molina said. “Right now we got some good offense and we are seeing the ball pretty good and we are finding some holes. We are showing the people that we have a pretty good team.”
    Craig turned in a 3-for-5 day with one run batted in while Descalso was 3-for-3 with a double, a walk and two runs scored. Carpenter was 2-for-4 with a run scored, a double, an RBI and a walk.
    “(Descalso) had a great day all the way around,” Matheny said. “You look at him run the bases, getting on base and being able to score from first, he is just a (good) ball player. That is something we talk about a lot and he does a lot of things well.”
    Royals’ outfielder David Lough recorded his first career 4-hit game as he finished the day 4-for-5. Alex Gordon and Billy Butler were both 2-for-4 for Kansas City.
    Page 3 of 3 - On the mound for the Royals, James Shields (2-6) went six innings and allowed 6 runs on 9 hits. He walked five and struck out four while taking the loss.
    “(Shields) is a good pitcher,” Molina said. “Watching him last year with my brother (Jose Molina) catching and I watched him a bunch of times on tv, I got the idea of what I need to do. He is a great pitcher. He left a couple of pitches in the middle and I take advantage.”
    St. Louis will play the Royals again tonight with first pitch coming at 7:10 p.m. The two teams will then swap venues and head to St. Louis for two more games on Wednesday and Thursday.
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