Jason LaRue pounded his former team hitting a home run and triple while driving in four runs as the Cardinals take the last two games of this year’s I-70 series by winning 9-6 on Sunday after Kaufmann Stadium.
You had the feeling after the first inning, things weren’t going to go in favor of the Royals who had a chance to score in the first. Jose Guillen lined a single to left with runners on first and second. David DeJesus tried to score, but was thrown out by Skip Schumaker as DeJesus ran into catcher Jason LaRue. DeJesus left the game with bruised ribs and is day to day. The wind, gusting from left to right seemed to keep the ball up in the air as it was tailing on LaRue. Had DeJesus slid in, he may have made it under the tag, but instead try to run him over. Braden Looper then got Mark Grudzielanek to ground out getting out of a first inning jam after walking the first two hitters and giving up the single to Guillen.
In the 2 nd , after Brian Bannister (7-7) gave up a two out walk to Adam Kennedy, Jason LaRue hit a two run homer to the opposite field over the right field fence aided by that 15 mph wind that was gusting at 28 mph.
In the 3rd, Skip Schumaker doubled and was bunted over to third. Bannister intentionally walked Pujols and Rick Ankiel hit a high pop fly to short left that shortstop Mike Aviles lost in the sun while battling the wind, scoring Schumaker. Bannister then walked Ryan Ludwick to load the bases. Chris Duncan dinked a ball into left field that fell in front of Jose Guillen and Adam Kennedy hit a sac fly scoring giving St. Louis, the 5-0 lead.
In the bottom of the 3 rd , the Royals got on the board after Joey Gathright singled and got to third on two outs, scoring on a passed ball by LaRue. The Royals chased Braden Looper in the 4 th scoring two runs on four singles and a walk. Cutting the lead to 5-3, Tony LaRussa pulled Looper who went 3.1 giving up three runs, two earned while walking four and striking out two. Reliever Chris Perez got the final two outs of the inning.
Bannister’s day would end early before finishing the 5 th when LaRue tripled after Joey Gathright misplayed a line drive to center allowing two runs to score putting the Cards back up 7-3. Bannister left after going 4.2 giving up seven runs on nine hits while walking four and striking out one.
The Royals would add a run in the bottom of the 5 th after Grudzielanek doubled and scored two batters later on a sac fly by Ross Gload. Perez would run into trouble loading the bases, but Russ Springer (2-0) bailed him out getting Joey Gathright to strikeout looking.
In the top of the 6 th , Joel Perralta would give up an infield single to Aaron Miles, and then a two run shot by Albert Pujols, his 17 th , deep to left making the score 9-4.
Jason Isringhausen appeared in relief to pitch an inning and a third, striking out three, but he did up a run on back to back doubles in the bottom of 7th to Grudzielanek and Mark Teahen. Izzy would leave after walking John Buck with two outs as Kyle McClellan came in to pitch getting Gathright to ground out ending the threat.
Pujols nearly did it again, when he would come up again in the 8th with runners on first and second and take Robinson Tejada deep to the track as Guillen waited with his back to the wall to make the catch.
The Royals rallied in the 8th with back to back singles by Esteban German and Mike Aviles off McClellan. Ryan Franklin came in to relieve McClellan get Guillen to pop up to right, but Grudzielanek had his four hit of the game singling softly to left to cut the lead to 9-6, but Teahen struck out looking to end the inning.
The Royals went down 1-2-3 in the 9th to give Franklin the save.
The Royals finish with one of the best interleague records going 13-5 tying Detroit for second best in the majors behind Minnesota’s 14-4 record.