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Cardinals @ Royals recap 5.24 - Cards salvage series finale in KC

Behind Wacha's excellent start, Cards salvage the final game of their three game set with the Royals.

Ed Zurga/Getty Images

St. Louis Cardinals @ Kansas City Royals

Michael Wacha vs. Yordano Ventura
1:10 p.m. CT
Kauffman Stadium - Kansas City, Missouri

Today's Lineups -

Some News -

Things we were looking for -

Matt Holliday was a late scratch from the lineup due to a left arm contusion.  Heyward also gets the day off, dealing with hip tightness, leaving an outfield of Mark Reynolds, Peter Bourjos, and Randal Grichuk.  Curious.  The bullpen is rested!

Things that happened -

Top halves -

The Cardinals took advantage of Yordano Ventura's early command troubles.  After Kolten Wong and Matt Carpenter took some walks to start off, Jhonny Peralta's check swing lucked into an RBI single up the middle.  Matt Adams drove in another, driving a liner over the head of center fielder Lorenzo Cain.  That put runners on second and third (Peralta should have scored on Adams' double), with nobody out.   Peralta made yet another baserunning gaffe as he strayed too far from third on a ball in the dirt, and it cost him an out.  That allowed Ventura to work through the inning with no more damage done.  Cards lead 2-0.

Ventura figured out his command, and mowed down Cardinal batters in the second through fifth, facing the minimum, and striking out 5 during that span.

The Cards got it going, though, again in the sixth.  Wong led off with a sinking liner that just fell in for a single into right.  Carpenter followed it up by launching a 86-m.p.h. changeup into the right field seats just inside the foul pole.  Cards lead 4-1.

Ventura only allowed a single to Mark Reynolds in his seventh and final inning.  Ventura's final line: 7.0 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 114 pitches thrown.

Luke Hochevar checked in for the Royals in the eighth.  With two outs, Peralta managed to sneak a single past Escobar.  Adams doubled.  Again, Peralta didn't score when he maybe should have.  Yadier Molina blooped a little fly ball over the head of Escobar.  Escobar made a remarkable effort to make an over the shoulder basket catch with his bare hand!  Fortunately for the Cards, it bounced off Escobar's palm, scoring two, and bumping up a little business for On-the-Run at Mobil tomorrow.  Cards lead 6-1.

Joe Blanton pitched the eighth.  Wong smacked a double off the centerfield wall, and Carpenter worked a walk, but that was all with two outs, and they were left stranded.

Bottom halves -

Alcides Escobar led off with a line drive single to center, but Wacha mowed through the next three, aided by a speedy range play in center by Peter Bourjos.

A nifty 6-4-3 double play helped Wacha work around a leadoff walk to Kendrys Morales in the second.  I was hoping for a video, but there doesn't seem to be one.

After an uneventful third, Wacha induced yet another double play to work around a Mike Moustakas single in the fourth.

In the fifth, Morales worked a 9-pitch at bat, with a scare just foul of a right-field homer.  He ultimately flew out to left.  Trouble started for the Cards when Peter Bourjos misplayed a line drive off the bat of Alex Gordon (Peter did a good job of running it down, but not a good job of collecting it in his glove).  That put Gordon on second.  Salvador Perez drove him home, singling into left.  Cards lead 2-1.

The Royals threatened again in the sixth.  With two outs, Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer and a Morales walk loaded the bases.  Randal Grichuk ran down a Gordon fly ball to strand the bases loaded.

Wacha breezed through the seventh using only seven pitches.  That was his final inning.  His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 92 pitches thrown.

Kevin Siegrist pitched a fantastic eighth with a strikeout and a couple fly outs.

Trevor Rosenthal came in to shut the door in a non-save situation.  He allowed a single to Gordon, but got his three outs.  Cards win 6-1.

Final Notes -

  • Ventura was better than his final line would indicate.  The two leadoff walks came back to bite him, and Carpenter got the better of him on one bad pitch.
  • Wacha was excellent.  He became the National League's first seven game pitcher. Here's his gamelog, from Brooks Baseball.
  • Alcides Escobar is fun to watch defensively.
  • We got a Siegrist and Rosenthal appearance in a non-save situation.  Those crazy ebbs and flows of a bullpen season.
  • Fangraphs for the game.
  • Gamenotes: CardsRoyals

Looking ahead -

Tune in for a Memorial Day showdown between the Diamondbacks and Cardinals.  Chase Anderson will be opposed by Carlos Martinez.  Gametime is 3:15 CT.