AL Central

St. Louis Cardinals Capitalize in Fourth Inning to Edge Kansas City Royals in I-70 Series Opener

St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Carpenter (13) is congratulated by teammate Kolten Wong, back, in front of Kansas City Royals catcher Drew Butera, right, after his three-run home run during the fourth inning a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

An in-state showdown that featured six home runs resulted in the St. Louis Cardinals defeating the Kansas City Royals by a score of 11-3 at Kauffman Stadium on Monday night.

St. Louis extends its all-time lead in the I-70 series to 52-39, while moving to .500 for the first time since June 2. Kansas City has dropped 7 of its past 10 games, falling into a tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Cardinals’ second baseman Kolten Wong opened the scoring in the second inning with a sacrifice fly. Kansas City’ third baseman Mike Moustakas responded with his 32nd home run, moving him into a tie for the third most home runs in the majors.

St. Louis’s offense picked up even more steam in the fourth inning with the first four players reaching base. The Cardinals capitalized around an Alcides Escobar error to score six runs in the inning, which included a three-run home run from Matt Carpenter.

“It started off with a single, the Molina double, a walk in there, a tough play for [Escobar] and it just kind of compounded from there,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Royals’ starter Ian Kennedy, who completed six frames, threw 36 pitches and walked two hitters in the fourth inning. The loss dropped his record to 4-8.

“The whole time I was trying to get really high intensity pitches and I was falling behind guys,” Kennedy said. “The command wasn’t there as much as I wanted it to be, but I was trying to grind it out the best I could.”

Carlos Martinez worked around this run support and finished with his fifteenth quality start. Martinez improved to 8-9 on the season, limiting the Royals to two runs in eight innings on seven strikeouts.

“He had good stuff and he was throwing strikes,” Yost said. “He had a good slider, 97 mph fastball, and he mixed in some really good changeups down in the zone.”

Although the Royals collected eight hits, the team stranded five runners in the game. Eric Hosmer and Brandon Moss also hit solo home runs against Kansas City in the effort.

St. Louis added a pair of insurance runs in each of the last two innings with home runs Kolten Wong and Paul DeJong. All but two of St. Louis’s position players recorded at least one hit on the night.

Michael Wacha and Jason Vargas will toe the rubber on Tuesday before the I-70 series shifts to Busch Stadium on Wednesday and Thursday.

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