Sunday, June 19, 2011

Kansas City Royals (31-40) at St. Louis Cardinals (39-33), 2:15 pm

Kansas City Royals (31-40) at St. Louis Cardinals (39-33), 2:15 p.m.

The St. Louis Cardinals target a series victory over the Kansas City Royals when the two in-state rivals get together this afternoon in the finale of a three-game set at Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals rebounded from Friday's 5-4 loss in the series opener with last night's 5-4 triumph in the second portion of this series. Matt Holliday's two- run homer in the eighth inning lifted the Cardinals to victory and halted a seven-game losing streak.

"You just keep battling and realize that it's a long season and every team goes through something similar," Holliday said.

Colby Rasmus and Albert Pujols had an RBI apiece, while Ryan Theriot was back in the lineup and went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Theriot was out of the lineup for the second straight game on Friday with discomfort in both his back and left leg.

Jake Westbrook started for St. Louis and did not factor in the outcome for allowing four runs and eight in seven innings. Jason Motte posted the win by getting two outs in the eighth and Fernando Salas registered his 12th save with a scoreless ninth inning.

St. Louis, which is one game behind Milwaukee for the NL Central lead, will hand the ball to Jaime Garcia tonight and he's 6-2 with a 3.18 earned run average in 14 starts. He lost two of his previous three decisions and recorded a no-decision the last time out in an 8-6 loss at Washington. He tossed six innings of two-run ball with seven strikeouts.

Garcia, a left-hander, will put his unbeaten home streak to the test today and is 4-0 with a microscopic 0.46 ERA in five Busch Stadium starts. He did not figure into the decision of a 9-8 win over the Royals on May 22 and is 0-1 in two career starts against them.

The Cardinals will also welcome Philadelphia and Toronto to the Gateway City during their nine-game homestand.

Kansas City will put the finishing touches on a nine-game road trip Sunday before returning to Kauffman Stadium for a six-game homestand versus the Diamondbacks and Cubs.

The Royals are 4-4 so far on the road swing and suffered their third loss in four tries in Saturday's 5-4 setback. Alex Gordon and Matt Treanor both homered for Kansas City, which won the opener to this three-game interleague series by a 5-4 score on Friday. Vin Mazzaro started for KC and posted a no- decision for giving up three runs over six innings.

Greg Holland was saddled with the loss after he surrendered Holliday's home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

"Make a bad pitch to a good hitter, that happens sometimes," Holland said. "Tried to get the ball in and it leaked back over the plate, and it was up, to boot. So, bad combination."

Rookie Danny Duffy hopes to give the Royals a win in the finale of this road trip and is 1-2 with a 5.04 ERA in six starts. He earned his first major league win in Tuesday's 7-4 triumph at Oakland and tossed six innings of two- run ball to stop a personal two-game slide.

Duffy, a left-hander, has never faced St. Louis and is 1-0 in three road starts this season.

The Cardinals won two of three bouts from Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium last month and are 11-5 in the 16 most recent encounters between the two Missouri foes.

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