St. Louis at Kansas City

Scoreboard
St. Louis (31-30)010100000280
Kansas City (29-31) «00000300x370

Ventura goes six strong in return; Royals edge Cardinals

CBSSports.com wire reports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Royals manager Ned Yost admitted that he often manages an entire game around getting the ball to reliever Wade Davis in the eighth inning and closer Greg Holland in the ninth.

The fact that Yordano Ventura gave him six solid innings made things even easier.

Ventura returned from a sore elbow to keep the St. Louis Cardinals off balance, and Kansas City rallied for three runs in the sixth inning before the bullpen closed out a 3-2 victory Thursday night that ended a string of eight consecutive home losses to its cross-state rivals.

"The bullpen was fantastic tonight," Yost said.

Of course, so was Ventura.

The hard-throwing right-hander was skipped his previous time through the rotation because of the ailment, but looked sharp in his return.

Ventura (3-5) pitched to contact and took advantage of some sharp defense, which helped him to limit the damage whenever he ran into trouble.

"Everything was good," Ventura said through a translator. "I wasn't nervous. I was very anxious. I wanted to pitch well to help the team win."

He wasn't in line for the victory until the Royals rallied for three runs off Michael Wacha (4-4) in the sixth inning, and Francisley Bueno and Davis each pitched a perfect inning in relief.

Holland made things interesting in the ninth.

Oscar Taveras led off with a grounder toward second base that Omar Infante fielded deep in the hole and threw awkwardly to first base. Umpire Dan Iassogna initially ruled the throw beat Taveras to the bag, but a video review showed that he was clearly safe.

Holland proceeded to strike out Jhonny Peralta, but a wild pitch sent pinch runner Randal Grichuk to second base. Holland then struck out Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos to end the game.

The Royals took the first two games of the four-game, two-city series at Busch Stadium, and then lost 5-2 in 11 innings on Wednesday night before taking the series finale.

Kansas City improved to 6-2 against National League clubs this season, while its slumping cross-state rivals lost for the seventh time in their past eight games.

The game was expected to be a showdown between two of the game's bright young pitchers in Ventura, with his 100 mph fastball, and Wacha, who emerged for St. Louis last season.

Neither of them disappointed.

Ventura left two runners aboard in the first inning and a runner on third base in each of the next three innings. Alex Gordon then helped him out of the fifth, when he threw out Yadier Molina trying to stretch a single into a double with a strong throw from left field.

The call was confirmed after a review that lasted 3 minutes, 30 seconds.

Wacha only allowed two hits through the first five innings before Alcides Escobar started the Royals' rally with a double in the sixth. Nori Aoki followed with an RBI double and Eric Hosmer guided a single through a drawn-in infield to knot the game at 2.

Salvador Perez, who had been in a 2-for-24 slump at home, followed with a go-ahead single.

"Wacha was real good up the point of the sixth inning and that's consecutive starts where we've had starters come out and be real good and just hit a wall," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We just weren't able to get enough offense back after that."

The fact that Aoki had a part in the Royals' sixth-inning rally was perhaps fitting.

The outfielder was leading off in the first inning when he took a pitch low and inside. He was still leaning slightly over the plate when Molina tried to return the ball to Wacha, and the throw instead ricocheted hard off Aoki's helmet and toward the third-base dugout.

Aoki crumpled into a heap and lay in the dirt for several minutes before resuming his at-bat. He later grounded out, but hurt the Cardinals with his double during the Royals' decisive rally.

"Yadi was real apologetic," Yost said. "Nori was just like, 'OK, OK.' "

Notes

Cardinals 2B Kolten Wong left in the fifth inning with soreness in his left shoulder, which he hurt diving for a ball Tuesday night in St. Louis. Daniel Descalso replaced him. ... Royals RHP Jeremy Guthrie starts a four-game series against the Yankees on Friday night. Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn will start for St. Louis to open its three-game set in Toronto.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Yordano Ventura is back firing bullets for the Royals again. He holds down the Cardinals despite striking out only one.  (USATSI)
Yordano Ventura is back firing bullets for the Royals again. He holds down the Cardinals despite striking out only one. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Kansas City

Y. Ventura
IP 6.0
H 7
ER 2
BB 2
K 1
St. Louis

J. Jay
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
 

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St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Matt Carpenter, 3B4011001 .306
Kolten Wong, 2B3000002 .258
   Daniel Descalso, 2B1000010 .161
Matt Holliday, DH3010100 .267
Allen Craig, 1B4010001 .246
Yadier Molina, C4010003 .299
Oscar Taveras, RF4010000 .227
   Randal Grichuk, PR0000000 .147
Jhonny Peralta, SS4000020 .224
Jon Jay, LF4220011 .295
Peter Bourjos, CF3011111 .211
Michael Wacha, P0000000 .045
   Carlos Martinez, P0000000 .000
Totals3428225  
Batting
2B - Matt Holliday (14, Ventura)
3B - Peter Bourjos (3, Ventura)
RBI - Matt Carpenter (21), Peter Bourjos (9)
2-OUT RBI - Matt Carpenter (11), Peter Bourjos (3)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Oscar Taveras 1
DP - Craig, Craig-Taveras-Peralta
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Michael Wacha (L,4-4) 6733110 2.61
Carlos Martinez 2000100 4.41
Pitches-Strikes - Michael Wacha 95-66, Carlos Martinez 19-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Michael Wacha 9-7, Carlos Martinez 3-2
Batters Faced - Michael Wacha 25, Carlos Martinez 6
Kansas City Royals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Norichika Aoki, RF4111001 .259
   Jarrod Dyson, CF0000000 .275
Omar Infante, 2B4000001 .241
Eric Hosmer, 1B4111000 .264
Billy Butler, DH4010001 .251
Alex Gordon, LF2010100 .284
Salvador Perez, C3011010 .260
Lorenzo Cain, CF-RF3010004 .319
Mike Moustakas, 3B2000102 .148
Alcides Escobar, SS2110000 .276
Yordano Ventura, P0000000 .500
   Francisley Bueno, P0000000 .000
   Wade Davis, P0000000 .000
   Greg Holland, P0000000 .000
Totals2837321  
Batting
2B - Norichika Aoki (9, Wacha), Billy Butler (10, Wacha), Alcides Escobar (16, Wacha)
SH - Alcides Escobar (5)
RBI - Norichika Aoki (13), Eric Hosmer (25), Salvador Perez (16)
2-OUT RBI - Salvador Perez (4)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Alex Gordon 1
Kansas City Royals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Yordano Ventura (W,3-5) 6722210 3.41
Francisley Bueno (H,2) 1000010 4.50
Wade Davis (H,9) 1000000 1.32
Greg Holland (S,17) 1100030 1.52
WP - Greg Holland (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Yordano Ventura 91-55, Francisley Bueno 12-9, Wade Davis 9-6, Greg Holland 18-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Yordano Ventura 8-8, Francisley Bueno 2-0
Batters Faced - Yordano Ventura 26, Francisley Bueno 3, Wade Davis 3, Greg Holland 4
Game Information
Attendance - 24438
Game Time - 2:26
Temperature - 76
Umpires - Home - Dale Scott, First Base - Dan Iassogna, Second Base - C.B. Bucknor, Third Base - Hal Gibson