Kansas City Royals

Cardinals jump all over Royals early and cruise in series opener

Cardinals get to Burch Smith early in Royals’ 7-0 loss

The St. Louis Cardinals scored five runs in the first two innings off Kansas City Royals starter Burch Smith.
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The St. Louis Cardinals scored five runs in the first two innings off Kansas City Royals starter Burch Smith.

The walk from the mound to the dugout required 19 seconds, a slow, lonely march for Royals pitcher Burch Smith. The last time he departed a game here at Kauffman Stadium, only 17 days ago, the crowd offered him a standing ovation, and he left with his first pitching victory in five seasons.

On Friday, just 32 minutes after unleashing his first toss, this was a quieter stroll, with no one waiting to greet him at the top step of the dugout.

It had turned into a landslide early.

The Cardinals pounced on Smith for five runs in the second inning on their way to 7-0 win in front of an announced crowd of 29,414 at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals (35-80) lost for the seventh time in eight games. The Cardinals (61-55) hit three home runs — Paul DeJong, Matt Carpenter and Harrison Bader — and won for the 11th time in their last 16 games in Kansas City.

“I didn’t have anything working, and they were capitalizing on mistakes,” Smith said. “They’re good hitters.”

Smith was gone before the second inning was completed, making way for Glenn Sparkman, who formulated his best outing as a big leaguer. Sparkman allowed two runs over 4 1/3 innings and produced three consecutive zeroes after the Cardinals put up five in the second.

“I went out there and tried to get quick outs,” Sparkman said. “I’m coming in to eat up innings so we don’t use too many more relievers.”

Kansas City Royals reliever Glenn Sparkman delivered 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball, coming in long relief on Friday night against the St. Louis Cardinals. Sparkman came in the game after starter Burch Smith was pulled in the second inning.

That was all that was salvageable, because by the time Sparkman entered, the damage was done — by a familiar foe. Carpenter is hitting .441 in 15 games in Kansas City, including five homers. On Friday, he served up his most majestic shot yet. The ball was midway through its flight, soon destined for the right-field fountains, when Smith turned back toward home plate umpire Tom Hallion and asked for a new baseball. It traveled 425 feet off the bat.

Carpenter has 32 home runs to lead the National League, including six in his past seven games. That punctuated a five-run second inning. Two batters later, Smith was yanked. He allowed five runs on six hits and one walk, ballooning his earned run average to 6.97.

“He just wasn’t sharp, and they didn’t let him get away with any mistakes,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Pitches that caught too much of the plate, they did damage with.”

Hours before the game, Yost acknowledged Smith was still competing to preserve a spot in the rotation, which will squeeze in another arm when right-hander Ian Kennedy is ready for a return from the disabled list. Smith’s six-start audition peaked with a one-hit gem on July 24, but the positive notes have been absent otherwise. In those six starts, Smith has allowed 24 runs in 22 1/3 innings, a 9.77 ERA.

The next man up saved the bullpen. In relief Friday, Sparkman gave up five baserunners across 4 1/3 innings.

“My hope at that point was he could give us 3 1/3 innings, so he did a phenomenal job,” Yost said. “I tried to push him — tried to get a couple more outs out of him, but he was really laboring at that point. He saved us. He allowed us to get through that without having to use half the bullpen.”

Sparkman started 16 games in the minors before his midseason call-up, but Yost said he will “probably not” join the rotation this year.

Cardinals rookie starter Austin Gomber threw five shutout innings before handing it over to his bullpen for his second victory. But the Royals weren’t without their chances. They left seven men on base in those five innings and 11 in the game.

If the Royals had an opportunity to claw their way back into the game, it arrived in third inning. Adalberto Mondesi opened with a triple, and the Royals eventually loaded the bases with two outs. Hunter Dozier’s fly ball found the right fielder Yairo Munoz’s glove, and the threat was done.

The Cardinals improved to 35-19 at Kauffman Stadium, though the Royals won two of three in St. Louis this season.

The Royals have gone 10 straight games without an error, a streak that dates back to an appearance at Yankee Stadium last month.

Cardinals 7, Royals 0

St. Louis

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Carpenter 1b

5

1

1

2

0

2

.280

Molina c

3

2

2

0

0

0

.288

Pena c

1

0

1

0

0

0

.206

Martinez dh

4

0

3

2

1

0

.298

Ozuna lf

5

0

0

0

0

2

.269

DeJong ss

5

1

1

1

0

2

.243

Gyorko 3b

4

1

1

0

1

1

.248

Wong 2b

3

0

0

0

1

0

.226

Munoz rf

2

0

0

0

0

0

.284

a-Garcia ph-rf

2

0

1

0

0

1

.167

Bader cf

4

2

2

2

0

1

.273



Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Merrifield 2b

4

0

0

0

1

0

.297

Herrera rf

3

0

0

0

2

2

.252

Perez c

3

0

1

0

0

0

.231

Butera c

0

0

0

0

0

0

.185

Dozier 3b

4

0

0

0

0

0

.219

Duda 1b

4

0

2

0

0

0

.239

Bonifacio lf

4

0

1

0

0

1

.211

Phillips cf

4

0

2

0

0

0

.232

Mondesi ss

4

0

1

0

0

0

.258

O’Hearn dh

3

0

0

0

1

2

.105



St. Louis

050

001

100

7

12

1

Kansas City

000

000

000

0

7

0

a-singled for Munoz in the 6th.

E—Wong (4). LOB—St. Louis 8, Kansas City 11. 2B—Molina 2 (16), Martinez (21), Bonifacio (10). 3B—Mondesi (1). HR—DeJong (11), off Smith; Carpenter (32), off Smith; Bader (7), off Sparkman. RBIs—Carpenter 2 (65), Martinez 2 (65), DeJong (32), Bader 2 (18).

Runners left in scoring position—St. Louis 4 (Ozuna, Gyorko 2, Bader); Kansas City 5 (Dozier 2, Mondesi 2, O’Hearn). RISP—St. Louis 3 for 14; Kansas City 0 for 8.

Runners moved up—Wong, Munoz. LIDP—Ozuna. GIDP—Merrifield, Perez.

DP—St. Louis 2 (DeJong, Wong, Carpenter), (Gyorko, Wong, Carpenter); Kansas City 1 (Merrifield).

St. Louis

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Gomber, W, 2-0

5

4

0

0

1

3

89

3.45

Shreve

1

1

0

0

0

1

23

4.10

Poncedeleon, S, 1-1

3

2

0

0

3

1

44

1.23

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Smith, L, 1-4

1<AF>2/3

6

5

5

1

0

46

6.97

Sparkman

4<AF>1/3

4

2

2

1

2

68

5.06

Adam

2

1

0

0

0

4

25

5.10

Maurer

1

1

0

0

1

3

19

10.00

Sparkman pitched to 2 batters in the 7th.

Inherited runners-scored—Sparkman 1-0, Adam 1-0. HBP—Smith (Molina), Gomber (Perez). WP—Sparkman 2.

Umpires—Home, Tom Hallion; First, Ryan Blakney; Second, Adam Hamari; Third, Phil Cuzzi.

T—3:04. A—29,414 (37,903).

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