The St. Louis Cardinals have put their road troubles behind them as they go for a two-game sweep of the host Kansas City Royals on Wednesday. St. Louis improved to 38-19 all-time at Kauffman Stadium with Tuesday's 2-0 victory that snapped a five-game slide away from home and moved it within one game of the first-place Chicago Cubs in the National League Central while maintaining its No. 2 spot in the wild-card race.
The Cardinals won their third straight game and improved to 18-11 since the All-Star break behind seven sparkling innings from Jack Flaherty while also welcoming back Yadier Molina. The future Hall-of-Fame catcher was in the lineup Tuesday for the first time since prior to the break after recovering from a right thumb tendon sprain. The Royals (43-77) had their modest two-game winning streak snapped as they steamroll toward their second straight 100-loss season. St. Louis' Dakota Hudson and Kansas City's Brad Keller take the mound Wednesday with each winless in his last three starts.
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, FS Midwest (St. Louis), FS Kansas City
Hudson allowed two runs and six hits in four innings before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in St. Louis' 6-2 victory over Pittsburgh on Friday. The 24-year-old Tennessean lost his previous two starts, yielding eight runs over 7 2/3 frames in setbacks at Oakland on Aug. 3 and to Houston on July 28, after winning four in a row. Hudson permitted one run in two-thirds of an inning of relief last season in his only career appearance against Kansas City.
Keller allowed five runs, 10 hits and three walks with six strikeouts in six innings of a 5-2 loss at Detroit on Friday. The 24-year-old native of Georgia recorded four quality starts in his previous five outings, going 3-2 with a 2.29 ERA during that span. The Cardinals' active roster is 2-for-22 versus Keller, who held them to two runs, two hits and four walks in seven innings of an 8-2 victory at Busch Stadium on May 22.
1. According to Elias Sports Bureau, St. Louis' .667 winning percentage at Kauffman Stadium matches the highest road success rate between two teams in major-league history (minimum 50 games), joining Houston at Seattle (44-22) and the Boston Braves at Washington Senators (34-17).
2. Kansas City DH Jorge Soler, the reigning American League Player of the Week, went 1-for-2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch Tuesday after going 6-for-11 with four home runs, eight RBIs and five runs over his previous three games.
3. The Cardinals on Tuesday placed RF Jose Martinez on the 10-day injured list with a right AC joint strain. St. Louis purchased the contract of OF Randy Arozarena from Triple-A Memphis and optioned C Andrew Knizner to the Redbirds.