ST. LOUIS — Mike Matheny realizes the numbers look bad and reasons the St. Louis Cardinals can’t be this bad at home for too much longer.
"We love being at home but so much has been made of it, it’s hard to deny it and not realize it right now," the manager said after a 3-2, 12-inning loss to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night. "Overall, we just kind of think it’s one of those things that won’t even be an issue by the time we finish this thing."
Carlos Martinez allowed eight hits in six-plus scoreless innings but St. Louis dropped to 15-22 at home. The three-time defending NL Central champions were 55-26 at home last season but have lost six straight at Busch Stadium.
"There’s an advantage to being here on a number of fronts, in my mind," Matheny said. "Tonight would have been a good one to start a good push in the opposite direction."
Stephen Piscotty, whose homer tied it in the 10th, said he hadn’t been aware of the record.
"We went on the road, swept the Cubs, did some good things," Piscotty said. "Would like to have this game but you can’t do anything about it."
Alcides Escobar hit a go-ahead RBI double just inside the right-field line in the 12th and drove in the first run of the game with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the eighth. His fly to shallow right off Seth Maness (0-2) fell just in front of Piscotty, whose homer leading off the 10th tied it at 2.
With runners on first and third and one out, Piscotty had hoped the ball would go foul. He ended up hurt on the play and wasn’t sure whether he could be in the lineup Thursday, saying, "We’ll see."
"I didn’t want to catch it. If I catch that ball, he tags and scores," Piscotty said. "Unfortunately for me and the team, it was fair."
Chien-Ming Wang (5-0) worked two scoreless innings for Kansas City, which survived blown saves by Wade Davis and Joakim Soria, stranded 19 runners and used all of its bench players. The Royals are 39-50 in the I-70 interleague series but 14-12 at 11-year-old Busch Stadium.
Whit Merrifield put Kansas City ahead in the 10th when a potential double-play grounder was booted by second baseman Matt Carpenter and Merrifield got an RBI. He also doubled with one out in the 12th.
Jhonny Peralta’s two-out single tied it at 1 in the ninth against Davis, the second blown save in 20 chances for the Royals closer.
Edinson Volquez worked 6 2/3 innings of six-hit ball in a strong bounce-back effort for Kansas City. He gave up 11 earned runs in one inning his last start.
The 24-year-old Martinez was limited to 89 pitches due to concerns about cumulative fatigue. He has allowed two earned runs in 28 1/3 innings in his last four starts.
"We had to be careful with him," Matheny said. "The way he uses his stuff, mixes up his movement, the way he’s trusting it and pounding it in the zone and trusting his defense, that’s a huge step."
Royals: CF Lorenzo Cain (left hamstring) was placed on the 15-day DL. The team is optimistic he’ll back right after the All-Star break.
Cardinals: SS Aledmys Diaz (right eye) was the lone bench player not used. He’s missed two games but could be back soon after getting a positive checkup from the team ophthalmologist.
Royals: Chris Young (2-7, 6.54) is coming off his shortest start since Sept. 1, 2014, allowing seven runs in 2 1/3 innings in a loss to Houston. He’s given up a major league-high 21 homers, with at least one in all 11 starts. He’s 0-5 with a 9.70 ERA in five road starts.
Cardinals: Mike Leake (5-5, 4.25) lasted just 3 1/3 innings his last start, allowing five runs at Seattle. He’s 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA in 38 June starts.