Royals 3, Cardinals 2

The Kansas City Royals used a lucky carom off a post near the

visitors’ dugout to stop Tyler Greene’s scamper around the bases,

and extend their winning streak to four games.

Third baseman Mike Moustakas picked up the deflected ball and

cut down Greene at the plate to end the game, capping a wild ninth

inning and preserving Kansas City’s 3-2 victory over the St. Louis

Cardinals on Friday night.

”On that play, it doesn’t really matter where you make that

throw,” Moustakas said. ”You’ve just got to get it and get rid of

it and give your catcher a chance to tag him out.”

Humberto Quintero, who had entered as a pinch hitter an inning

earlier, appeared on replays to have blocked Greene’s foot long

enough for his chest-high tag to count on a bang-bang call by plate

umpire Alan Porter.

”It’s a tough call, the call’s been made,” Greene said. ”Just

from my perspective, I knew it was close but I thought I’d kind of

gotten a foot in there.”

Royals manager Ned Yost joked his team had been ”practicing

that play.”

”That’s a play we work on all spring,” Yost said. ”We

executed it flawlessly.”

Greene slid into every base on his ill-fated tour. He reached on

a two-out infield hit for his third single of the game, stole

second while banging shortstop Alcides Escobar’s glove and scooted

for third when the ball got away. He popped up after an off-line

throw by Getz, noticed Moustakas moving away from the bag before

getting to third and heard third base coach Jose Oquendo yelling

”Go, Go, Go!”

”That’s a long run there,” Greene said. ”I was going with

everything I had into home and what happened, happened. I thought

it was the right gamble.”

Carlos Beltran, who became the first switch hitter in major

league history with 300 home runs and 300 steals, and St. Louis

starter Kyle Lohse both thought Greene was safe. Both also felt it

was a good case for baseball to expand its use of instant

replay.

”It’s a tough call for the umpire right there and that’s why

I’m a believer replay has to be more involved with plays like

that,” Beltran said. ”The big thing about this game is being able

to make the right call and as players we’re just asking for

that.”

The crazy finish came after Yadier Molina eased up on what he

believed was an infield hit to start the St. Louis ninth. The

catcher belatedly sped up after Escobar’s diving stop, and the

shortstop made a strong throw to first as Molina banged his helmet

with his hands.

Vin Mazzaro worked six scoreless innings and Jeff Francoeur had

two RBIs for Kansas City, which matched its longest winning streak

of the season. Jarrod Dyson added two hits, a walk and an RBI.

Jonathan Broxton worked the ninth for his 16th save in 18

chances and No. 100 for his career.

The Royals also won four straight from May 12-15 at the Chicago

White Sox and Texas.

Beltran had two hits and is batting .467 (14 for 30) during an

eight-game hitting streak. He reached the 300-300 milestone against

his first major league team, but was caught stealing by Mazzaro’s

pickoff throw during the next at-bat.

The Royals trail the Interstate 70 rivalry 38-29, but are 14-14

in St. Louis.

Lohse (6-2) scattered 10 hits in seven innings, giving up three

runs. He has worked at least five innings in all but two of his 20

career starts against the Royals.

Mazzaro (3-1) blanked the opposition through six innings for the

second time in three starts, needing just 80 pitches while keeping

the Cardinals off balance. Matt Holliday was an easy out all three

times after entering the game 4 for 5 with a homer and three RBIs

against the 25-year-old right-hander.

Mazzaro was briefly visited by a trainer in his last inning and

was pulled with right calf tightness. But he did enough to earn his

first interleague victory in seven decisions. He gave up four runs,

three earned, in three-plus innings in a loss at Pittsburgh in his

previous start.

”Vinny pitched great,” Yost said. ”We wanted to send him back

out because our pen, three or four guys were unavailable tonight,

but when it started to tighten up we couldn’t take any

chances.”

Escobar doubled with two outs in the second and scored on

Dyson’s infield hit, and Alex Gordon doubled leading off the third

and scored on Francoeur’s single.

Francoeur added a sacrifice fly in the seventh as the Royals

built a 3-0 lead.

Matt Adams had an RBI double and pinch-hitter Shane Robinson

delivered a run-scoring single as the Cardinals jumped on Roman

Colon in the bottom half to pull within one.

Colon, recalled from Triple-A Omaha on Thursday to bolster an

overworked bullpen, made his first major league appearance since

2010 when he made the opening-day roster and appeared in just five

games.

NOTES: Yost said he would platoon Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler,

the regular DH, at 1B in interleague games at NL parks. …

Cardinals SS and leadoff man Rafael Furcal, mired in a 1-for-24

slump, did not start but was at the plate as a pinch hitter when

the game ended. ”I don’t think it’s necessarily anything

mechanical, it’s just physically he’s beat,” manager Mike Matheny

said. … Cardinals second-round pick Carson Kelly, a high school

3B from Beaverton, Ore., signed and betrayed no sense of awe in an

impressive round of batting practice, with Matheny and batting

coach Mark McGwire watching from beyond the cage. Matheny joked

that the usual over-under on draftees is no balls hit out of the

cage the first time around. ”Most kids want to come up here and

just start launching,” Matheny said, ”and they walk out with

their head hanging low.” … Gordon has scored in eight straight

games after entering the game the only player in the majors with a

pair of seven-game streaks with a run scored, according to STATS

LLC.