On Friday, May 22nd, the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals faced off in game one of a three game inter-league series. And despite having many opportunities to score, the Cardinals fell 5-0 to Kansas City, who were backed by strong pitching and two home runs by Kendrys Morales.
And in a close game, the Royals defeated the Cardinals 3-2, as the rain shortened a potential comeback for St. Louis.
The pitching match-up for game two featured veterans John Lackey (2-2, 2.96) for the Cardinals, and Edinson Volquez (3-3, 2.74) for the Royals.
Volquez made quick work of the Cardinals in the top of the first, pitching a 1-2-3 inning, while Lackey, aside from allowing a one-out double to Mike Moustakas, made quick work of the Royals in the bottom half of the first. The second inning started with a lead-off double by shortstop Jhonny Peralta on a ball that was able to get in front of Alex Gordon out in left field. Randal Grichuk was walked by Volquez, and Matt Adams followed that with a walk as well, loading the bases with no one out.
The double and back to back walks brought Yadier Molina up to the plate. Molina grounded out, which scored Peralta, giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead, as Grichuk and Adams advanced. With runners at second and third with one out, Mark Reynolds popped out to Omar Infante in shallow right field. Peter Bourjos then popped out as the top of the second ended with the Cardinals ending their 23-inning scoreless drought.
But the Cardinals lead would not last long, because in the bottom of the second, with one runner already on, Gordon hit a two-run shot straight out to right field, which gave the Royals a 2-1 lead. It was the first home run allowed by Lackey in nearly 50 innings pitched.
Kansas City picked up another run in the bottom of the fourth inning: with Eric Hosmer on third, Salvador Perez singled scoring Hosmer, and advancing Gordon (who was intentionally walked in the previous at-bat) to third base. Infante walked on four pitches, much to the frustration of Lackey.
With the bases loaded and one out, Lackey forced two pop outs to get out of the inning, as the game headed to the fifth with the Royals ahead 3-1.
And in the top of the fifth, St. Louis began a comeback, that unfortunately, would not be completed.
After a line-out by Reynolds, Bourjos singled, as did Kolten Wong. Matt Carpenter followed with a single of his own, scoring Bourjos and cutting the Royals lead to 3-2. Matt Holliday then was hit by a pitch for the second straight night, as his on-base streak extends to 40 games. But the Cardinals did not score another run in the inning, and, after Lackey held the Royals scoreless in the bottom of the fifth, the top of the sixth was cut short due to rain.
Eventually, the rest of the game was as well, and the Royals won 3-2, with Lackey getting his third loss of the season, in a game that was barely half over.
The Cardinals drop to 27-16, while the Royals increase to 28-14.
Michael Wacha gets the start tomorrow for the Cardinals.