Preview: Santana seeks 100th career win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — There could be an opportunity for Tyler
Lyons to make a case for a permanent place in the St. Louis Cardinals’
injury-plagued rotation.

Lyons had a solid debut in his last
outing and will face a Kansas City Royals team that is one defeat shy of
a franchise-record home losing streak entering Tuesday night’s contest.

St. Louis (33-17) has lost Jaime Garcia for the year, and Jake Westbrook and John Gast are currently on the disabled list.

That’s
why the 25-year-old Lyons (1-0, 1.29 ERA) had his contract purchased
from Triple-A Memphis for his debut last Wednesday in a 5-3 win at San
Diego. He yielded one run over seven innings and also singled once in
three at-bats.

“I pitched well, I got a hit and we won the ballgame,” Lyons said. “It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Known
for his sinker, Lyons went 2-1 with a 4.47 ERA in eight starts at
Memphis. He could cause problems for Kansas City (21-27), which is 4-10
against left-handed starters.

St. Louis has won six straight on
the road in the I-70 series after Monday’s 6-3 victory and is a major
league-best 19-9 on the road this season. Yadier Molina homered and
drove in four runs, improving to 10 for 16 in his last five games.

“We’re
playing good,” Molina said. “We’ve got some good offense. Right now,
we’re seeing the ball pretty good. We’re finding some holes. We’re
showing the people we’ve got a pretty good team. Hopefully we can
continue to do that for the rest of the season.”

Allen Craig added three hits and his team-high 36th RBI. Craig is 14 for 35 with nine RBIS in nine games against the Royals.

Kansas
City has lost six straight, 17 of 21 overall and will try to avoid
matching the home losing streak set last season when it began 0-10 at
Kauffman Stadium. The Royals last dropped seven straight during a
12-game slide April 11-24, 2012.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny
used former Royals slugger Carlos Beltran as his designated hitter
Monday. Beltran got the day off Sunday due to shoulder soreness.

Matt
Holliday, hitless in his last 11 at-bats, got Monday off. He’s one of
two available Cardinals who have faced Royals starter Ervin Santana
(3-4, 3.14), going 2 for 6.

Santana, seeking his 100th career
victory, is winless in four starts and has posted a 4.71 ERA in losing
his last three after giving up five runs over 7 2-3 innings in
Thursday’s 5-4 home defeat to the Angels.

The right-hander will
be hoping that the Royals can get untracked after averaging totaling 12
runs during their longest losing streak of the year.

Third
baseman Mike Moustakas will likely miss a second straight game with a
bruised quad. Manager Ned Yost said that the infielder is feeling better
but will likely choose to rest the lefty-swinging Moustakas against
Lyons.

Designated hitter Billy Butler has gone nine straight games without an RBI, going 7 for 29 with no extra-base hits in that span.

Alex
Gordon moved past Butler for the team lead Monday with his 31st RBI,
but he has just three in his last 14 games despite hitting .389 in that
stretch.