photo: Dylan Carlson via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)
Tuesday, September 22, 2020 – St. Louis 5 at Kansas City 0
A breakout performance by Dylan Carlson and six strong frames by starter Austin Gomber led the St. Louis Cardinals over the Kansas City Royals, 5-0, on Tuesday evening at Kauffman Stadium. The win evened the road series at one game each with one on tap. The victory also placed St. Louis (27-25) in sole possession of second place in the National League Central, thanks to losses by both the division-leading Cubs and Cincinnati. The Cardinals now trail Chicago by 3 ½ games while the Reds’ drop into a third-place tie with Milwaukee, 4 ½ back.
On a night in which each team saluted the Negro Leagues Centennial by wearing the uniforms of the 1930 St. Louis Stars, a team on which the legendary James “Cool Papa” Bell played, and the 1945 Kansas City Monarchs, who had shortstop Jackie Robinson on their roster, respectively, both Carlson and Gomber brought their best efforts. With a fly ball to the track in the eighth, Carlson finished a few feet shy of being the first St. Louis player to hit for the cycle since Mark Grudzielanek in 2005. Carlson went 3-for-4 with a single, two-run double and triple, scoring twice. The rookie’s go-ahead two-base hit in the second set the tone for the evening.
The only other Cardinal with more than one of the team’s seven hits was Kolten Wong, who reached base three times by singling twice in three at-bats and driving in one. Wong worked one of the seven free passes issued by Kansas City’s pitching staff, two of whom eventually crossed home plate.
Moving into St. Louis’ rotation after the recent season-ending injury of Dakota Hudson, Gomber’s impressive effort held the Royals’ offense at bay. After a first-inning triple, the southpaw did not allow a runner to reach scoring position until the fifth, when a single and throwing error by third baseman Matt Carpenter put a runner on second with one gone. But Gomber negated the bobble with a line out to left and one of his three strikeouts. Overall, he gave up four hits did not walk a batter. Gomber was also assisted by a stellar second-inning catch by center fielder Harrison Bader to rob Bubba Starling in a potential-momentum-shifting play. The big lefty noted his changeup was on, enabling him to pitch more efficiently and increase his ground ball rate.
A trio of Cardinals’ relievers held solid over the final three frames: Ryan Helsley, Genesis Cabrera and Jake Woodford. Each hurler tossed an inning, with Helsley and Woodford walking one apiece while Cabrera and Woodford permitted a hit. Woodford struck out the side.
Wednesday’s game: at Kansas City (22-33), 7:05 p.m. CDT, Carlos Martinez (0-2, 8.40) vs. Danny Duffy (3-4, 5.01) FOX Sports Midwest // KMOX
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