KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Just about everybody in the Cardinals lineup drove in a run, Michael Wacha was good enough on the mound and St. Louis held off the Kansas City Royals 8-4 on Tuesday night to even their four-game, two-city series.
Wacha (4-7) allowed four runs over six innings but, considering he served up nine hits and three walks, it could have been worse. It was his second straight win after dropping seven consecutive decisions.
His bullpen nearly gave it away: Seung Hwan Oh loaded the bases with one out in the ninth before getting pinch-hitter Alex Gordon to pop out and inducing Eric Hosmer into a routine fielder’s choice.
Yordano Ventura (6-5) allowed seven runs on seven hits, three walks and a hit batter in 5 1/3 innings for the Royals. Ventura had only allowed one run over his last two starts, both of which came before an eight-game suspension for his role in a benches-clearing brawl during a game June 7 in Baltimore.
As if things weren’t bad enough for Kansas City, outfielder Lorenzo Cain grabbed his left hamstring while trying to beat out an infield hit in the seventh. He left the game and the extent of the injury was unclear.
The cross-state series shifts to St. Louis for two more games beginning Wednesday night.
Ventura actually breezed through the first inning on just 12 pitches, but trouble came promptly in the second. He gave up three hits, walked two and Yadier Molina, Kolten Wong and Greg Garcia drove in runs.
He appeared to settle down over the next couple innings before more trouble hit in the fifth.
Matt Carpenter started it with a homer to center, the 48th allowed by a Kansas City pitcher this month — the club record is 51 in May 2006. Matt Adams added a sacrifice fly later in the inning to make it 5-2.
Ventura’s night was done in the sixth, when another hit and walk brought manager Ned Yost ambling out of the dugout. Carpenter provided an RBI double and Brandon Moss and Matt Holliday made it 8-2 before reliever Brian Flynn finally got the Royals out of the inning.
Kansas City tacked on two runs in the bottom half before its comeback collapsed in the ninth.