(BaseballStL) -- Kansas City Royals starter Luis Mendoza gave up the hits and walks, but the St. Louis Cardinals batters couldn’t deliver the usual punch against him on Wednesday.
The Cardinals threatened to strike early with back-to-back hits by Allen Craig and Yadier Molina to begin the second inning, but a 92 mph fastball delivered by Mendoza to David Freese went for a 6-3 double play. Jon Jay grounded out to first base with two outs and a runner on third to end the inning.
Mendoza allowed back-to-back hits to Craig and Molina again in the fourth inning. After striking out Matt Holliday, Craig would double and be thrown out at home plate on a single hit to right fielder David Lough by Molina. A two-out walk to Freese put the Cardinals in position to strike again with runners on first and second, but Mendoza got Jay to ground out to first base to end the inning.
The 29-year-old right hander would help himself out by smacking his first big league hit, an RBI single, in the fifth inning to give his team a 2-0 lead.
The Cardinals were finally able to score a run off Mendoza when Holliday sent a 430-foot solo home run to left center field to start the sixth inning. Mendoza was taken out of the game with a 2-1 lead after walking Freese with two outs in the inning.
He needed 98 pitches, including 58 strikes, to get through 5.2 innings. He allowed one run on six hits and three walks while striking out five batters.
In line for his second win of the season, and first since May 13, Mendoza saw his chance for the ‘W’ erased when the Cardinals scored four runs in the eighth inning to take a 5-3 lead.
The Cardinals began the day with a .333 team batting average with runners in scoring position, but went 1-for-4 against Mendoza. The problem for Kansas City was the fact that the Cardinals went 2-for-4 with runners in scoring position against their bullpen.