It’s Royals-Cardinals 2015 finale — pending October, of course

A pair of 8-5 pitchers -- Kansas City's Chris Young and St. Louis' John Lackey -- square off in what will be the last meeting of the season between these I-70 rivals unless a World Series awaits both teams.

Brad Rempel - Jeff Curry

It feels like 1985 all over again.

Both the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals have the best records in their respective leagues, and the I-70 rivals look to continue moving toward a repeat of that showdown Thursday night in the makeup of a rainout.

Barring a dramatic collapse, St. Louis (60-34) and Kansas City (57-36) will be back in the postseason, possibly leading to a rematch of the 1985 World Series won by the Royals after they rallied from a three-games-to-one deficit.

The Cardinals lead the NL Central by six games over second-place Pittsburgh, and the Royals are 7 1/2 ahead of Minnesota atop the AL Central.

This is the latest in a season that two teams from Missouri hold the majors’ top two records since the Cardinals and St. Louis Browns did it on Aug. 18, 1944.

St. Louis’ staff has a major league-leading 2.67 ERA, and John Lackey (8-5, 2.90 ERA) has been a big part of that of late.

Since allowing 10 runs in a loss at Colorado on June 8, the right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.63 ERA in seven starts. He’s been superb at home all year, going 6-2 with a 1.91 ERA in 10 outings.

Lackey allowed one run and 10 hits in seven innings of a 12-2 win over the New York Mets on Saturday.


He gave up three runs in five innings of a 3-2 loss at Kansas City on May 23, and this is the make-up of the June 14 contest he was scheduled to pitch.

The Cardinals, who are opening a season-high 11-game homestand, have won four of their last five after sweeping a two-game set with the Chicago White Sox. Yadier Molina’s bases-loaded triple in the eighth inning rallied them for Wednesday’s 3-2 victory.

"We know what to do," said Lance Lynn, who allowed two runs in six innings. "You just got to keep grinding out at-bats, making pitches, and trying to make sure that they don’t have a huge inning. We’ve got guys who know how to do that, and it makes it fun around here."

Molina is 9 for 21 with six RBIs in the past four games, collecting three hits in each of the last two. The All-Star catcher is hitting .345 with 14 RBIs in his last 16 meetings with Kansas City.


St. Louis got some help from the Royals, who took two of three from the Pirates after Wednesday’s 5-1 victory for their 12th win in 15 games.

Mike Moustakas connected for a three-run homer in the seventh and is 9 for 28 with three homers and eight RBIs in the last eight games.

The third baseman has a .357 average in 11 games at St. Louis, but Eric Hosmer is batting .185 in 24 career meetings overall.

Hosmer, though, enters this matchup hitting .444 (20 for 45) over the last 11 games after getting a solo shot and a double Wednesday.

The Royals are turning to Chris Young (8-5, 3.03), who left Friday’s start after 82 pitches due to tightness in his back. He allowed two runs and three hits with four walks in five innings of a 4-2 road win over the White Sox.

"I’m not worried about it," Young said. "It’ll be fine."

The right-hander, who was slated to start opposite Lackey last month, is 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA in six road starts this year, winning four straight behind a 1.11 ERA.

Young went six innings in a 5-0 home win over the Cardinals on May 22. He hasn’t faced them in St. Louis since 2010 with San Diego.