Preview: Royals look to slow down Beltran, Cardinals

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The I-70 series has been one-sided of late, in part due to Carlos Beltran’s solid performances against his former team.

He’ll
look to help the St. Louis Cardinals win a sixth straight meeting while
sending the visiting Kansas City Royals to an eighth consecutive defeat
Wednesday night.

Beltran was named AL Rookie of the Year in 1999
with Kansas City before being traded to Houston midway through the 2004
season when the sides couldn’t agree on a contract extension.

He
didn’t face the Royals until signing with St. Louis prior to last
season, but he’s hitting .361 with two homers and 11 RBIs in helping the
Cardinals win six of eight matchups.

Beltran went 2 for 4 with a
two-run homer in Tuesday’s 4-1 victory in Kansas City, helping St.
Louis (34-17) earn its sixth victory in seven tries. He had gone 0 for 9
over his previous three games.

Matt Carpenter homered and is hitting .414 over his six-game hitting streak for the Cardinals, who finished their road trip 6-2.

Kansas
City may be happy to hit the road even if it’s not all that far away.
Tuesday’s defeat tied the franchise record of 10 straight home losses
set last season.

The Royals (21-28) have been outscored 35-13
during their seven-game losing streak and mustered only two hits in the
latest defeat – both from Billy Butler, including an RBI double in the
first inning.

“What are you asking me to do? Take my belt off and
spank them? Yell at them, scream at them? What do you want?” manager
Ned Yost asked. “Do we need to make changes? This can’t continue.
Somewhere down the road, we’re going to have to make some changes.”

Butler,
hitting .370 in his last eight versus the Cardinals, has gone 5 for 9
over his last three after going hitless in 12 at-bats over his previous
four.

Kansas City will look to get its offense going against Lance Lynn, who hopes he’s back on track after a solid outing.

Lynn
(7-1, 2.95 ERA) posted a 5.25 ERA while walking seven over his previous
two starts, but he bounced back and scattered two hits while striking
out nine in six innings of a 7-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on
Friday.

He left after 77 pitches, though, due to tightness in his lower back.

“We
made the decision that we’ll let the bullpen finish it from there and
we’ll get ready for the next one,” Lynn said. “It was a good time not to
hurt myself and let some guys get some work.”

The right-hander
struggled in his only start versus the Royals, giving up six runs and
nine hits – including three homers – in 5 1-3 innings of an 11-8 loss
June 24.

Lynn will be opposed by Luis Mendoza (1-2, 5.05), who
walked a season-worst four but gave up only one run in five innings of
Kansas City’s 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. He suffered a
minor left knee injury covering home plate after a wild pitch in the
third inning, but he isn’t concerned.

“I’ll be ready for my next start,” Mendoza said.

The
right-hander, 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA over his last three starts, is 0-1
with a 5.23 ERA in two starts versus the Cardinals after allowing four
runs in 4 1-3 innings of an 8-2 defeat June 23.