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Kansas City at St. Louis

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Kansas City (31-42) «0002000024100
St. Louis (42-32)000100000120

Royals handle Cards for first I-70 series sweep since 2001

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Somehow, the AL Central's last-place team also is one of the best in interleague play.

After the Kansas City Royals swept the St. Louis Cardinals for the first time since 2001, pitcher Zack Greinke guessed that players' unfamiliarity with the National League was probably helpful.

"Maybe we don't realize how good they are because we don't get to face them that often," Greinke said after combining with two relievers on a two-hitter in a 4-1 victory on Thursday. "We face American League teams all the time, so we know how good each team is."

Mark Teahen missed the cycle by a double and had three RBI for the Royals, who are 7-2 in interleague play -- with other road series wins at Florida and Arizona -- despite an overall record of 31-42. Manager Trey Hillman pointed out the punchless Cardinals were missing Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina and juggling the rotation due to injuries.

"That was nice, very nice," Hillman said. "We caught these guys at a good time. But we took advantage of it."

The Royals won their fifth in a row and handed the Cardinals their first series sweep of three or more games of the season, with two one-run victories and a tight finale before Teahen's two-run homer off Chris Perez in the ninth.

The Cardinals had won eight straight series with one split since dropping two of three to the Pirates at home May 13-15. They absorbed their first sweep since Sept. 12-14 at Cincinnati, and their first at home since the Mets routed them 20-2 over three games to open the 2007 season.

Rick Ankiel homered for the Cardinals, who totaled only four runs in the series against a team that entered the finale 10th in the American League with a 4.46 ERA. St. Louis has scored three or fewer runs in six of eight games since Pujols went on the 15-day disabled list with a left calf strain.

"He's a major force that's not in your lineup, but this club against us has thrown a bunch of quality starts," manager Tony La Russa said. "Even with Albert, it's only one bat. We made a mistake, they hit it out of the park. Three days' worth."

The Cardinals sold out the last five games of a 2-4 homestand with paid attendance of 44,277 for the finale.

Greinke (6-4) didn't allow a hit until Ankiel's 11th homer with two outs in the fourth. He struck out seven, walked one and worked seven or more innings for the ninth time in 15 starts. The Cardinals had only three base runners during Greinke's stint and neither of the other two made it past first.

Greinke had been 0-3 with a 6.10 ERA in five previous road appearances since his last victory May 18 at Florida. Ramon Ramirez worked a perfect eighth with a strikeout and Joakim Soria worked his third straight 1-2-3 ninth against the top of the order for his 18th save in 19 chances.

The Cardinals' Jason Isringhausen, working his way back to the closer role after blowing six of 17 save chances, allowed two hits in 2 1/3 innings, two outs shy of his career high and his longest outing since his last three-inning stint on Sept. 9, 2001, against Tampa Bay when he was with the Athletics. Isringhausen has worked 3 1/3 scoreless innings since being activated from the DL on Saturday.

"I knew I might get some innings in today, so it was good," Isringhausen said. "I think it all depended on pitch count, and I was able to keep my pitch count down."

Brad Thompson, whose rehab stint was cut short after Anthony Reyes went on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow strain, worked five solid innings in his first appearance since April 22. Thompson (1-2) allowed two runs on five hits, with all the trouble coming in the fourth.

Thompson was optioned to Triple-A Memphis after the game. The Cardinals were planning on calling up a reliever, perhaps Mike Parisi, for a nine-game trip starting Friday at Boston, and Todd Wellemeyer, who skipped a turn in the rotation for the second time this month, said he would be able to make his next start.

"It was kind of a quick thing," Thompson said. "I didn't expect it to happen yesterday, anyhow. Blink and you might miss it, you know?"

Left fielder Skip Schumaker caught Alex Gordon's drive at the wall to start the inning, and Jose Guillen singled, Mark Grudzielanek hit an RBI double and Teahen had an RBI single in succession for a 2-0 lead.

Ankiel's homer to straightaway center in the fourth was only his second RBI during the six-game homestand, and also ended Greinke's 10-inning scoreless streak.

Notes

  • Greinke has allowed 14 homers, among the most in the AL.
  • Thompson was 1-1 with a 7.27 ERA in two rehab starts covering 8 1/3 innings.
  • Teahen is 8-for-17 in his last four games.
  • Chris Duncan is 5-for-31 with one RBI since being recalled from the minors to play 1B after Pujols was injured.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Zack Greinke handcuffs the Cardinals, allowing only Rick Ankiel's homer and an Aaron Miles single.  (AP)
Zack Greinke handcuffs the Cardinals, allowing only Rick Ankiel's homer and an Aaron Miles single. (AP)

Players of the Game
Kansas City

Z. Greinke
IP 7.0
H 2
ER 1
BB 1
K 7
St. Louis

R. Ankiel
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus, CF-LF5010002 .305
Mike Aviles, SS4020001 .321
Alex Gordon, 3B4000011 .268
Jose Guillen, LF4110010 .286
    Joey Gathright, CF0000000 .242
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B3221100 .303
Mark Teahen, RF4133001 .264
John Buck, C4000023 .249
Ross Gload, 1B4010001 .239
Zack Greinke, P2000010 .286
   a- Esteban German, PH1000000 .159
    Ramon Ramirez, P0000000 .000
   b- Alberto Callaspo, PH0000100 .295
    Joakim Soria, P0000000 .000
Totals35410425  
a-grounded out for Greinke in the 8th
b-walked for Ramirez in the 9th
Batting
2B - Mike Aviles (6, Flores), Mark Grudzielanek (15, Thompson)
3B - Mark Teahen (4, Thompson)
HR - Mark Teahen (7, Perez)
RBI - Mark Grudzielanek (12), Mark Teahen 3 (23)
CS - Mike Aviles (1, 2nd base by Isringhausen/LaRue)
Team LOB - 6
Kansas City Royals
Zack Greinke (W,6-4) 7211171 3.33
Ramon Ramirez (H,8) 1000010 3.18
Joakim Soria (S,18) 1000010 1.41
Pitches-Strikes - Zack Greinke 112-75, Ramon Ramirez 13-8, Joakim Soria 12-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zack Greinke 7-7, Joakim Soria 2-0
Batters Faced - Zack Greinke 24, Ramon Ramirez 3, Joakim Soria 3
St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, LF4000011 .307
Aaron Miles, 2B4010000 .289
Ryan Ludwick, RF4000031 .305
Rick Ankiel, CF3111010 .251
Troy Glaus, 3B3000010 .260
Chris Duncan, 1B3000010 .234
Jason LaRue, C3000000 .194
Brad Thompson, P0000100 .333
   a- Braden Looper, PH1000010 .367
    Jason Isringhausen, P0000000 .000
    Randy Flores, P0000000 .000
   b- Adam Kennedy, PH1000010 .250
    Chris Perez, P0000000 .000
Cesar Izturis, SS3000001 .244
Totals2912119  
a-struck out for Thompson in the 5th
b-struck out for Flores in the 8th
Batting
HR - Rick Ankiel (11, Greinke)
RBI - Rick Ankiel (31)
2-OUT RBI - Rick Ankiel (11)
Team LOB - 2
Fielding
DP - Glaus-Miles-Duncan
St. Louis Cardinals
Brad Thompson (L,1-2) 5522010 4.37
Jason Isringhausen 2.1200010 6.75
Randy Flores 0.2100010 4.19
Chris Perez 1222221 3.86
Pitches-Strikes - Brad Thompson 60-38, Jason Isringhausen 26-20, Randy Flores 12-8, Chris Perez 33-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brad Thompson 8-5, Jason Isringhausen 3-2
Batters Faced - Brad Thompson 19, Jason Isringhausen 8, Randy Flores 3, Chris Perez 7
Game Information
Attendance - 44277
Game Time - 2:31
Temperature - 83
Umpires - Home - Dale Scott, First Base - Ron Kulpa, Second Base - Dan Iassogna, Third Base - Bill Hohn