Royals’ Hammel earns first victory of the season in win over Cardinals
ST. LOUIS — Kansas City starter Jason Hammel had to jog his memory on what to do after a win. It had been that long for Hammel, who was making his 290th career start Tuesday night.
He earned his first victory of the season, helped by home runs by Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez in a 5-1 win by the Royals over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Hammel (1-5) has been winless in his previous 13 starts dating back to his last win Sept. 6, 2017. He also had been winless in his previous seven road starts.
“Honestly I feel like I forgot how to celebrate after a win,” Hammel said. “It’s been so long, personally. But I’ve been doing this a long time and there’s time you feel like you’re down and you feel like you’re making good pitches like I was earlier in the year and just sometimes it doesn’t happen.
“Every win is important. You should celebrate all of them. So obviously it feels really good.”
Hammel went seven innings, giving up nine hits and a run to help the Royals win for the second time in 10 games. He struck out six and hit a batter with no walks.
— FOX Sports Kansas City (@FSKansasCity) May 23, 2018
“He really had his slider going,” Royals manager Ned Yost said about Hammel. “He pitched seven really strong innings for us. He ended up only giving up one run. A lot of hits were kind of off the bat.
Luke Weaver (3-4) pitched seven innings in his first career outing against Kansas City. He allowed seven hits and struck out eight against one walk.
Gordon added two singles in a 3-for-4 night after entering the game hitless in his previous 14 at-bats. He was in a 4-for-40 skid that dated back to May 9.
Kansas City is 1-3 in interleague play this season. The Royals had lost their last five games against St. Louis and are 4-10 against their cross-state rivals in interleague play dating back to May 24, 2015.
Kansas City went ahead 2-1 in the fourth on a two-out double by Alcides Escobar, who snapped an 0-for-9 skid with a single in the second inning. Whit Merrifield walked with one out and went to third on a single to right by Gordon. Escobar, who went 3-for-4, lined a 3-2 off-speed pitch to left to drive home Merrifield.
A leadoff homer by Perez in the sixth gave the Royals a 3-1 edge. Besides hitting the home run, Perez threw out two baserunners.
“Great game,” Perez said. “I mean (I) throw out two guys — fantastic. The home run was huge at that point.”
Kansas City added two runs in the ninth of struggling reliever Greg Holland, a former Royal, who did not get any of the four batters he faced out.
Holland, who sports an 8.76 ERA, left to a chorus of boos as he did Saturday against visiting Minnesota. It was his third consecutive poor outing for the three-time All-Star.
“I’m not throwing well,” Holland said. “If you don’t want to get booed, perform better. I’m feeling pretty good out there. It’s just one of those things right now where everything that can go wrong is going wrong.
With his start, Escobar had made 381 consecutive starts. It is the longest streak in Royals history and the longest active streak in the major leagues.
Royals: 1B Lucas Duda (right foot plantar fasciitis) is eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list Thursday. Duda is batting .256 with four home runs and 19 RBIs in 37 games this season.
Royals: RHP Jakob Junis (5-3, 3.51) will be facing the Cardinals for the first time in his career. He’s 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA in three starts against National League teams, all coming in 2017. He has allowed two or fewer runs and worked at least six innings in three of his road starts this season.
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (5-1, 3.08) has limited opponents to two runs or less in each of his last six starts (2.06 ERA). He won his 50th career game in his last start making him the 11th-youngest pitcher to reach that milestone since 1900.