KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Matt Holliday and Allen Craig paced another big game for the St. Louis offense, and Adam Wainwright took advantage of the robust run support in the Cardinals’ 8-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.
Holliday finished 4 for 5 and drove in a pair of runs, pushing his stat line against Kansas City to 13 for 22 with two homers and eight RBIs in five games this season. Craig added a two-run homer and finished with three RBIs for the Cardinals.
Wainwright (6-7) only allowed a bunt single and a broken-bat base hit in the first five innings. He ended up allowing two runs on four hits and two walks over seven.
Luis Mendoza (2-4) was responsible for the Cardinals’ first four runs, but the Royals’ relief corps fared just as poorly, letting the game get out of reach in a hurry.
The Cardinals came into the series scuffling on offense, but they’ve broken out of it in style while taking the first two games. They matched a season high with 17 hits on Friday night en route to an 11-4 victory, and were nearly as proficient at the plate during the Saturday matinee.
All to the delight of a crowd of 37,240 that was primarily dressed in red.
Their fans certainly had reason to cheer, starting in the third inning, when Rafael Furcal worked a two-out walk and back-to-back singles by Jon Jay and Holliday made it 1-0.
Mendoza escaped the jam, and even got through the fourth, before everything fell apart.
Daniel Descalso started a run of five straight singles in the fifth for St. Louis, and RBI base hits by Jay and Holliday knocked Mendoza from the game. Kelvin Herrera came in and promptly gave up another RBI single to Carlos Beltran, staking the Cardinals to a 4-0 lead.
Furcal added another run with a single in the sixth, and even though Kansas City got two back in the bottom half on Alex Gordon’s run-scoring triple and Yuniesky Betancourt’s RBI groundout, St. Louis wasted little time in matching them with two more runs in the seventh inning.
That’s when Holliday doubled off reliever Greg Holland, and Craig belted a full-count pitch over the bullpen in left field for his ninth homer of the season.
All the offense sure took the pressure off Wainwright.
The former 20-game winner spent most of the afternoon looking like the guy who finished second in the 2010 Cy Young voting — before he needed season-ending Tommy John surgery last February.
Wainwright erased Gordon’s bunt single in the first by inducing a double play, and then set Kansas City down in order the next two innings. He didn’t allow a runner to reach second base until giving up two runs in the sixth, but he bounced back to work a scoreless seventh inning.
NOTES: Hall of Fame golfer Tom Watson threw out the first pitch. … Royals C Salvador Perez got the day off after his return the previous night from a torn knee ligament. Manager Ned Yost expects him to catch Sunday. … RHP Lance Lynn will pitch the series finale Sunday for St. Louis. LHP Jonathan Sanchez will start for Kansas City.