Royals-Cardinals Preview

It has not been pretty, but the St. Louis Cardinals have given

themselves a chance to win consecutive series for the first time in

six weeks.

The Cardinals look to build on their latest offensive outburst

in Sunday’s decisive series finale against the Kansas City Royals

at Busch Stadium.

St. Louis (34-32) held on for victories of 1-0 and 5-3 in the

final two of a three-game home set against the Chicago White Sox

this week. After falling 3-2 to Kansas City on Friday, the

Cardinals blew an early five-run lead but won 10-7 on Saturday.

The Cardinals opened their nine-game homestand by losing two of

three to Cleveland.

Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina each homered and combined for

nine RBIs as St. Louis scored three times in the seventh inning to

erase a 7-6 deficit Saturday.

“We got the win, that’s all that matters, whoever comes

through,” Molina told the Cardinals’ official website.

It was a much-needed effort for Holliday, who finished with four

hits and five RBIs after starting the day mired in an 0-for-12

slump.

“It’s been frustrating, my swing had been a little off,” said

Holliday, who ended a 17-game drought without a homer. “I’ve just

been trying to battle, trying to find a good groove. It is nice to

see the results.”

St. Louis hasn’t won two straight series since taking two of

three from Milwaukee and Pittsburgh April 27-May 3.

Adam Wainwright (5-7, 4.75 ERA) hopes for another positive

performance when he takes the mound for the Cardinals on Sunday.

Though the right-hander lost his last outing, he was encouraged

after giving up two runs and striking out seven in seven innings of

a 6-1 loss to the White Sox on Tuesday.

“I feel very comfortable on the mound,” said Wainwright, who

has allowed three runs or fewer in four of his last five starts.

“It’s all kind of getting back into the swing of things.”

The right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA as a starter against the

Royals, but he has not faced them since 2009.

Third baseman Mike Moustakas had three hits, including his 10th

homer, and four RBIs on Saturday as the Royals (28-35) did not let

their season high-tying four-game winning streak end without a

fight.

“I was really proud of the offense, the way they stayed after

it,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. “Down 6-1, they just kept

putting together good at-bats. We battled back and got the lead,

but from the seventh inning on (our pitchers) just really struggled

to command the ball.”

Facing St. Louis for the first time, Kansas City’s Luis Mendoza

(2-3, 4.89) looks to build on his best outing of the season when he

makes his second straight start since moving out of the

bullpen.

The right-hander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, then

finished by allowing one hit and one run over six innings to

outpitch ex-Royal Zack Greinke while not factoring in the decision

of a 2-1 win over Milwaukee on Tuesday.

Mendoza, who has made 11 appearances this season, is 1-2 with a

5.16 ERA in six starts.

With two hits and two RBIs on Saturday, Royals shortstop Alcides

Escobar is batting .360 (9 for 25) with five RBIs in his last seven

games. However, he is 2 for 13 versus Wainwright.