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St. Louis at Kansas City

St. Louis
Kansas City
W: C. Perez (2-0) L: B. Bannister (7-7)
S: R. Franklin (11)
HR: STL - J. LaRue (3), A. Pujols (17)   KC - None

Cardinals 9, Royals 6

CBSSports.com wire reports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The sun, the wind, and Jason LaRue's stocky body proved too much for Kansas City to overcome.

The backup catcher started his day by holding onto the ball in the first inning when David DeJesus came crashing into him trying to score. DeJesus, leading the majors with a .463 average with runners in scoring position, had to leave the game.

But a fired-up LaRue proceeded to drive in four runs with a wind-aided home run and one of the strangest triples anyone will ever see, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 9-6 victory over their state rivals.

"My goodness," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "What more can you do? Big hits, big collision at the plate. He had a terrific day and handled the pitching staff on a tough day to pitch."

LaRue's four RBI in four at-bats were only nine fewer than he managed in 169 at-bats last year for the Royals.

"Today was one of my most exciting games," he said. "All in all, this day was probably one of my best."

Albert Pujols also homered as every Cardinal batter had a hit but Adam Kennedy, who scored twice and drove in a run.

A few minutes after the collision with DeJesus, and with gusts nearing 30 mph blowing across from left field, LaRue lifted what appeared to be a playable flyball into right off Brian Bannister. The right fielder faded back and then faded back some more, but the ball sailed over the fence for a 2-0 lead.

Then with two outs and two on in the fifth, LaRue smacked a line drive straight toward center fielder Joey Gathright. As Gathright took a few steps in and prepared to make the catch, the ball suddenly and sharply hooked away. Gathright fell down, lunging futilely for the ball as it rolled to the wall. Both runners scored as LaRue, with speed befitting someone who's spent his life squatting behind home plate, labored into third with his first triple since 2004.

"It was coming right at me," Gathright said. "Then it cut. I was pretty much in shock when it went by me. I couldn't believe it cut that much. But there's nothing you can do."

Royals manager Trey Hillman knew something weird had happened.

"I saw the same route everybody else did," he said. "I thought Joey had a bead on it. LaRue hurt us today. That home run and then that ball. That's tough when the ball gets out there and the wind doing what it did and knuckling 20 or 30 feet to the left."

LaRue may have been the only person in the stadium who didn't see what the ball did.

"Usually I don't ever watch the ball when I hit it," he said. "I ran to first. I knew I hit the ball well and I looked up and saw that nobody caught it."

LaRue took a lot of ribbing for having to stop at third.

"There's no speed at all. Zero speed," he said. "They were just laughing at me."

Pujols led the parade.

"I think if my leg was healthy, I would have gotten an inside-the-park home run," Pujols said. "I was giving him a lot of grief about that. But he swung the bat great for us. He made that great play in the first inning and he set the tone in the second inning with the big home run."

Hillman said DeJesus bruised his right rig cage and would be day to day.

Bannister (7-7), who had been 4-0 with a 1.73 ERA in five daytime home starts, lasted 4 2/3 innings and gave up seven runs on nine hits.

Rookie Chris Perez (2-0) got the victory after relieving starter Braden Looper, who had a 5-3 lead when he was lifted with one out in the fourth and the bases loaded. Perez went 1 1/3 innings and gave up two hits and one run on Mark Teahen's RBI single.

Pujols, who was hurt and did not play when the Royals swept three from the Cardinals last weekend in St. Louis, connected off Joel Peralta for a two-run shot that made it 9-4 in the sixth.

Skip Schumaker doubled leading off the third and scored when Mike Aviles lost Rick Ankiel's popup in the sun. The Cardinals then made it 5-0 on Kennedy's sacrifice fly and Chris Duncan's RBI single.

Bannister agreed LaRue made the difference.

"The triple was tough. Those are two big plays, two crucial moments with runners on base," he said. "I don't regret either one of those pitches because I think on a typical day, they would have been outs. But the elements got involved. It was a tough result because we could have won that ballgame today."

Mark Grudzielanek was 4-for-5 with an RBI single and scored three times for Kansas City. Royals outfielder David DeJesus, who leads the majors in hitting with runners in scoring position, was removed from the game with bruised ribs after a collision at the plate with LaRue in the first inning.


DeJesus' 13-game hitting streak remains intact because he walked in his only plate appearance. ... Aaron Miles stretched his hitting streak to 11 games. ... The Royals' interleague record dropped to 13-5 record, second only to Minnesota. The Cardinals were 7-8. ... The three-game series drew 105,700.

Copyright 2017 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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Players of the Game
Kansas City

M. Grudzielanek
AB 5
R 3
H 4
HR 0
St. Louis

J. LaRue
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

Related Video

St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, LF5120001 .304
Aaron Miles, 3B3120100 .321
Albert Pujols, DH4222113 .356
Rick Ankiel, CF5121013 .258
Ryan Ludwick, RF4110101 .285
Chris Duncan, 1B5021001 .238
Adam Kennedy, 2B2201201 .264
Jason LaRue, C4124003 .241
Brendan Ryan, SS4010001 .285
2B - Skip Schumaker (15, Bannister), Albert Pujols (16, Bannister), Rick Ankiel (16, Gobble)
3B - Jason LaRue (1, Bannister)
HR - Albert Pujols (17, Peralta), Jason LaRue (3, Bannister)
SF - Adam Kennedy (2)
SH - Aaron Miles (4)
RBI - Albert Pujols 2 (45), Rick Ankiel (38), Chris Duncan (19), Adam Kennedy (20), Jason LaRue 4 (11)
2-OUT RBI - Jason LaRue 4 (10)
SB - Skip Schumaker (6, 2nd base off Gobble/Buck)
CS - Brendan Ryan (2, 2nd base by Bannister/Buck)
Team LOB - 7
Outfield Assists - Skip Schumaker 1
PB - Jason LaRue (1)
St. Louis Cardinals
Braden Looper 3.1632420 4.26
Chris Perez (W,2-0) 1.1211110 3.93
Russ Springer (H,6) 0.1000010 2.16
Jason Isringhausen 1.2211140 5.72
Kyle McClellan (H,17) 0.2211000 2.66
Ryan Franklin (S,11) 1.2100020 2.82
Pitches-Strikes - Braden Looper 78-45, Chris Perez 35-22, Russ Springer 5-3, Jason Isringhausen 38-22, Kyle McClellan 7-7, Ryan Franklin 19-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Braden Looper 4-3, Jason Isringhausen 1-0, Kyle McClellan 1-1, Ryan Franklin 1-2
Batters Faced - Braden Looper 19, Chris Perez 7, Russ Springer 1, Jason Isringhausen 8, Kyle McClellan 4, Ryan Franklin 6
Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus, LF0000100 .316
    Esteban German, LF4121000 .171
Mike Aviles, SS4010114 .318
Alex Gordon, 3B4000127 .260
Jose Guillen, DH5010025 .280
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B5341002 .308
Mark Teahen, RF5021023 .257
Ross Gload, 1B4111011 .263
John Buck, C2000310 .246
Joey Gathright, CF4121014 .246
   a- Billy Butler, PH1000000 .262
a-popped out for Gathright in the 9th
2B - Mark Grudzielanek 2 (18, Perez, Isringhausen), Mark Teahen (13, Isringhausen)
SF - Ross Gload (1)
RBI - Esteban German (6), Mark Grudzielanek (15), Mark Teahen (27), Ross Gload (16), Joey Gathright (15)
2-OUT RBI - Mark Grudzielanek (6)
Team LOB - 12
DP - Gordon
Kansas City Royals
Brian Bannister (L,7-7) 4.2977411 4.88
Joel Peralta 0.2222001 6.00
Jimmy Gobble 2200100 7.32
Robinson Tejeda 1.2100010 6.23
IBB - Pujols by Brian Bannister
WP - Jimmy Gobble (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Bannister 103-51, Joel Peralta 16-11, Jimmy Gobble 31-19, Robinson Tejeda 17-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Bannister 5-7, Joel Peralta 1-1, Jimmy Gobble 1-4, Robinson Tejeda 1-2
Batters Faced - Brian Bannister 26, Joel Peralta 4, Jimmy Gobble 8, Robinson Tejeda 5
Game Information
Attendance - 31803
Game Time - 3:35
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Mike Winters, First Base - Brian Knight, Second Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Third Base - Marvin Hudson