The Cardinals, coming off an off day due to rain, opened an interleague series with the cross-state Royals on Tuesday. Dakota Hudson got the start, going four innings deep on seventy pitches and allowing three runs on two home runs in a shaky second inning. The Cardinals’ offense picked him up though, as Nolan Arenado, Albert Pujols, and Andrew Knizner went deep to drive in six runs, all of which came off of Royals starter Daniel Lynch. The Cards’ bullpen bent but didn’t break, as they held on to secure a 6-5 win.
Whit Merrifield opened play with a strikeout swinging at a slider that dove low and away out of the zone, and Bobby Witt, Jr. went down chasing a pitch that was nearly identical. Andrew Benintendi was the first batter to put a ball in play, flying a 2-2 sinker to Tyler O’Neill for a clean inning from Hudson.
Dylan Carlson worked an eight-pitch at-bat but struck out, failing to hold a check swing on a fastball up and away. Paul Goldschmidt struck out as well, chasing an elevated fastball. O’Neill wasted no time and jumped on a first-pitch four-seamer for a base hit to left. Nolan Arenado saw eight pitches, the last of which was a changeup that he put into the left field bullpen to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. Albert Pujols found home run number 680 of his career, blasting a no-doubter to left to stretch the lead to 3-0. Tommy Edman ended the frame with a popout to first.
Salvador Perez put a 3-2 sinker into the bleachers in left-center to get the Royals on the board, 3-1.
Carlos Santana topped a fastball back to Hudson, who flipped it to Goldschmidt for the out. Adalberto Mondesi hit a high chopper back up the middle, but Hudson deflected it and left no play for Edman on the infield hit. Michael Taylor then belted a get-me-over 2-0 slider for another home run, tying the game at 3-3.
Nicky Lopez followed the homer with a groundout to first and Cam Gallagher struck out swinging to close the top of the inning.
Harrison Bader flew out to center field for a quick first out. Paul DeJong drew a one-out walk. Andrew Knizner went after a fastball up in the zone and popped out to first. Carlson flew out to left to end the Cards’ half of the frame with no threat.
Merrifield tagged a slider and dropped it into left field for a leadoff hit. Witt flew out to O’Neill just short of the warning track. Benintendi struck out reaching for an outside sinker, but Merrifield took second on the pitch as DeJong couldn’t corral the throw from Knizner. Perez bailed Hudson out of a potential jam, chasing a 2-0 slider outside of the zone and popping out to retire the Royals.
Goldschmidt tipped a slider into the glove of Perez for out number one. O’Neill hit a rocket of a line drive at Mondesi, who snagged it on the fly for the out. Arenado struck out, putting the Redbirds down in order.
Santana rolled over a sinker and grounded out to Hudson. Mondesi followed with his own groundout to second. Taylor snuck a soft grounder just over third base after Arenado let the ball go, which allowed Taylor to reach with a bizarre single. Lopez hit a hard grounder to the right side and Edman made a great diving stop to rob him of a hit for the final out.
Albert led off the bottom of the fourth with a single to left for his second hit of the game. Edman followed with a hit off of a first-pitch changeup. Bader and DeJong recorded the first two outs with back-to-back strikeouts. Knizner fell into an 0-2 hole but got a hold of a mistake of a slider in the center of the zone, hammering it down the left field line for a home run that blew the game back open at 6-3. Carlson reached first on an infield single down the third baseline but was stranded at first after Goldschmidt flew out to the warning track in center.
With Jordan Hicks’ start against Pittsburgh rained out on Monday, he got an appearance in the fifth to stay fresh since the rotation will reset to Adam Wainwright on Wednesday after the unexpected off day. After breaking Gallagher’s bat within five pitches, he walked Gallagher on eleven pitches. Merrifield topped a slider and grounded into a 6-4-3 twin-killing. Witt struck out reaching at a 3-2 slider that flew out of the zone.
O’Neill struck out on three sliders to open the bottom of the inning. Arenado flew out to center. Pujols lined a changeup back up the middle, putting him at 3-3 on the evening. Edman moved him to third with a double, but Bader left them both on base after flying out to center field.
Benintendi flew the first pitch of the inning into center for the first out. Perez struck out swinging as Hicks hammered the outside edge of the zone. Santana chopped out to first, ending an efficient six-pitch sixth for Hicks.
Joel Payamps replaced Lynch in the bottom of the sixth and struck out DeJong. Knizner drew a six-pitch walk that was wasted as Carlson and Goldschmidt grounded out to end the frame.
Nick Wittgren relieved Hicks and retired Mondesi and Taylor on groundouts to second and short. Lopez kept the inning alive with a ground ball that found the grass in right field. Gallagher then ambushed a first-pitch slider up in the zone for an RBI double, closing the gap to 6-4.
Merrifield walked on four pitches, but Wittgren avoided additional damage by retiring Witt on a groundout for the third out.
Amir Garrett came in to pitch the seventh for the Royals and got O’Neill with a popout to second. Arenado then lined out on a bullet to third and Pujols lined out softly to right to put the Cardinals down 1-2-3.
Genesis Cabrera got the call to throw the eighth. Benintendi missed a fastball in the middle of the zone, chopping it to first for out number one. Perez did not miss the fastball he saw and hit it into the bleachers once again in left-center, bringing the Royals within one at 6-5.
Santana then flew out to center and Mondesi grounded out to his counterpart to close the top of the frame.
Dylan Coleman, replacing Garrett, got Edman on a groundout to short as Mondesi made an impressive stop to rob the hit.
Bader then lined out to right on a 3-2 fastball. DeJong doubled off the glove of Taylor who just missed the running catch that would have been the third out. It mattered little, though, as Knizner struck out on a foul tip to send the game to the ninth.
Giovanny Gallegos came in to secure the save and got off to a good start, getting Taylor with a popout to Knizner. Lopez followed with a flyout to left. Ryan O’Hearn pinch hit for Gallagher and hit a comebacker at Gallegos, who knocked it down and threw to first to seal the 6-5 for St. Louis.
The Cards move up to 3-1 after taking two of three against Pittsburgh prior to Tuesday’s win. The second and final game of the series against the Royals is scheduled for Wednesday at 12:15 PM CT, with Wainwright scheduled to take the mound against Zack Greinke.
Final Pitching Lines
Hudson: 4 IP / 5 H / 3 R / 3 ER / 0 BB / 4 SO / 2 HR
Hicks (W, 1-0): 2 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 2 SO / 0 HR
Wittgren (H, 2): 1 IP / 2 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 1 BB / 0 SO / 0 HR
Cabrera (H, 1): 1 IP / 1 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 0 BB / 0 SO / 1 HR
Gallegos (S, 1): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 SO / 0 HR
Lynch (L, 0-1): 5 IP / 9 H / 6 R / 6 ER / 1 BB / 7 SO / 3 HR
Payamps: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 1 SO / 0 HR
Garrett: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 SO / 0 HR
Coleman: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 SO / 0 HR