KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright was left to lament the two outs he kept failing to get.
Probably because they wound up costing him six runs.
The veteran right-hander ran into trouble in each of the first two innings against Kansas City on Monday night, then nearly wiggled out of it, only for the Royals to come through with some clutch two-out hitting to produce a 6-2 victory over St. Louis in the opener of their four-game, two-city series.
All the runs came on two-out hits, some of them with two strikes.
"A pitcher’s job is to limit those innings, obviously. To put up zeros," Wainwright said. "If I just make a different pitch, three or four of those times, we’re talking about zeros instead of big, crooked numbers. It’s pretty frustrating. And I had decent stuff today."
Matt Holliday gave Wainwright a lead with a two-run homer off Danny Duffy (3-1) in the first, but it was short-lived. Kendrys Morales went 4 for 4 and drove in two runs, and Eric Hosmer added a pair of RBIs to help the Royals end a four-game losing streak to their cross-state rivals.
Duffy settled down to last eight innings, matching a career high. He struck out eight without a walk.
"He gave up that two-run homer in the first inning on a pitch he tried to get in," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "From there, just a great, great effort by Danny. Just a very solid effort."
Wainwright (6-5) wasted no time coughing up the lead Holliday had given him, loading the bases for Morales in the first. The designated hitter lined a single to right over a shifted infield to tie the game.
Kansas City pulled ahead for good in the second, stringing together five singles and a double while batting through the order. Lorenzo Cain provided the lead with a sharp single up the middle, Hosmer extended it with his bounding double down the right-field line, and Salvador Perez added an RBI single to make it 6-2.
"It’s tough. You have to tip your hat, really. They did a real nice job with two strikes and two outs," said Wainwright, who had been 4-0 in six career starts at Kauffman Stadium.
"I had two-strike counts on a lot of those guys that had two-out hits," he said. "I made some good pitches sometimes that they hit, but not great pitches. Not exactly where I wanted them."
Wainwright began making better pitches eventually, retiring 10 of his final 11 batters. But the damage had been done, and he was pulled after five innings and 102 pitches.
It was the third time this season the three-time All-Star has allowed at least six runs in a start, though only four were earned.
Meanwhile, Duffy was using pinpoint control to breeze through a lineup that scored 11 runs the previous day against Seattle. He retired his final seven batters, with nobody getting past second after the first inning.
"We had opportunities," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said, "but just had trouble putting hits together."
Cardinals SS Aledmys Diaz left after fouling off a pitch that ricocheted off his forehead leading off the ninth inning. The ball hit Diaz near his right eye and left him with blurred vision, and he was heading to the hospital after the game for an exam. Greg Garcia grounded out to finish Diaz’s at-bat.
"I hope it’s just a scare," said Diaz, who did not experience any concussion-like symptoms. "Obviously, when the inflammation goes down, I hope to be able to keep helping the team."
Major League Baseball released its final update of All-Star fan voting. Hosmer (1B) and Perez (C) lead the AL at their positions, while Cardinals C Yadier Molina tops voting at his in the NL. The selection show is July 5 and the All-Star Game is the following week. Yost, who will manage the American League squad, said, "I think we’re going to be in pretty good shape" when asked about Kansas City representation.
Cardinals: 1B Matt Adams (back) remained out of the lineup, though Matheny said Adams was available to pinch hit. Adams has been out since Wednesday. … C Brayan Pena (knee) is expected to come off the disabled list Tuesday.
Royals RHP Yordano Ventura (6-4) returns from an eight-game suspension stemming from a brawl in Baltimore to face Cardinals RHP Michael Wacha (3-7) on Tuesday night. Wacha won for the first time in nearly two months his last time out against the Cubs.