ST. LOUIS (AP)Nolan Arenado homered, pinch-hitter Matt Carpenter delivered a tiebreaking double and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2 on Saturday night.
Yadier Molina had an early two-run single for the Cardinals (55-55), who reached .500 for the 21st time this season. They have won 16 of their last 22 against Kansas City.
St. Louis starter Kwang Hyun Kim allowed two runs and three hits on 83 pitches over four innings in his first outing since giving up a season-high five runs in a season-low 2 2/3 innings July 28 at Cleveland.
”It was 27 pitches to finish up the fourth,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said about pulling Kim early. ”It just wasn’t quite as crisp.”
Shildt said Kim developed an elbow issue during his July 22 start against the Chicago Cubs.
”It just felt sore a little bit,” Kim said through a translator. ”I checked with the trainer about that and they just told me it’s just a minor problem.”
Luis Garcia (1-0) had three strikeouts in two shutout innings for his first major league win since Aug. 29, 2019, with the Angels against Boston.
”He’s pitched great,” Shildt said. ”We just keep giving him opportunities, and he goes out and keeps attacking the zone.”
Ryan Helsley and Genesis Cabrera each tossed a scoreless inning before Giovanny Gallegos worked the ninth for his second save.
Brad Keller (7-11) yielded five runs on seven hits and five walks. He was pulled after allowing singles to Paul DeJong and Tommy Edman to start the bottom of the sixth.
”It’s actually amazing he was able to compete as long as he did without a fastball,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. ”He didn’t have command of that pitch from the start.”
Carpenter, batting for Kim, doubled off the right-field wall to score DeJong and give St. Louis a 3-2 lead in the fourth.
Arenado hit his 22nd home run to left field in the fifth, making it 4-2.
Lars Nootbaar drove in DeJong with a pinch-hit single off reliever Josh Staumont in the sixth.
Michael A. Taylor and Hanser Alberto delivered RBI singles for Kansas City in the fourth to tie it 2-all.
Molina drove in Paul Goldschmidt and Dylan Carlson with a two-out single in the first that dropped in front of right fielder Hunter Dozier, who momentarily lost the ball in the sun.
Former Royals and Cardinals Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog was in attendance. The 89-year-old Herzog is the second-oldest living Hall of Famer, six months younger than 90-year-old Willie Mays.
Royals: All-Star C Salvador Perez (non-COVID-19 illness) was back in the lineup after being scratched Friday night. Perez had appeared in each of the club’s first 107 games.
Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (oblique) allowed three runs over four innings in a rehabilitation start with Double-A Springfield on Friday night. Shildt said it’s safe to consider Flaherty probable to be activated in time for the team’s next series in Pittsburgh.
Royals LHP Kris Bubic (3-5, 4.57 ERA) brings a four-start road losing streak into his first career start against St. Louis on Sunday.
The Cardinals counter with LHP Jon Lester (3-6, 5.38), who will be making his second start for the team since being acquired July 30. It will be his first start against the Royals since Aug. 12, 2014, for Boston.
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