On Friday, Zack Greinke pitched into the ninth inning, as Kansas City beat St. Louis, 4-2, in the opener of the I-70 series.
Greinke (3-8) limited the St. Louis lineup to six hits through the first eight frames. The right-hander took the hill in search of his fourth career shutout, but Ryan Ludwick reached on catcher's interference to begin the ninth and Colby Rasmus doubled.
Joakim Soria succeeded Greinke and Ludwick scored on a Felipe Lopez sacrifice fly. David Freese then singled home Rasmus to cut the Cardinals' deficit to 4-2. Soria, though, retired the next two batters to earn his 18th save of the campaign.
"I was having trouble throwing strikes in the bullpen, so I was just pretty much trying to throw it down the middle in the first couple innings before I had a feel of where I was throwing the ball," admitted Greinke.
Scott Podsednik and Alberto Callaspo each had three hits for the Royals, who have won two straight on the heels of a five-game skid. Jose Guillen also stroked an RBI single, extending his career-high hitting streak to 19 games
St. Louis starter Jeff Suppan (0-3) allowed three runs on seven hits in five innings to take the loss. The Cardinals have now dropped two straight, while scoring just three total runs in their last three games.
The Cardinals' bats will look to come alive today and provide some support for Blake Hawksworth, who is making his first start in almost three weeks. The right-hander, who is the team's long reliever, was last on the hill this past Sunday when he surrendered one run and three hits in 2 1/3 innings of a 3-2 loss to Oakland.
Hawksworth has made only one start this season, allowing six runs and seven hits in four innings of a 12-4 loss to the Dodgers on June 7th. This is his first career start against the Royals.
Getting the nod for Kansas City is Kyle Davies, who is 1-2 with a 9.78 ERA over his last five starts. On Sunday, the right-hander struggled with his command and issued seven walks in 4 1/3 innings of work against Atlanta. He allowed four runs on four hits, but left without receiving a decision in the team's eventual 8-5 defeat.
Davies has made four career starts against St. Louis, going just 1-3 with a 5.32 ERA. To make matters worse, Davies is 0-2 with a 10.00 ERA in two lifetime starts against the Cardinals at Kauffman Stadium.
This is the first series between St. Louis and Kansas City since the Cardinals won five of six matchups a year ago, including a three-game sweep at Kauffman Stadium from June 19-21. The Cardinals have won seven of the past nine meetings between the clubs.