MLB: Cardinals head home to face Royals after rocky trip

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After spinning their wheels during a 3-4 road trip through Ohio, the St. Louis Cardinals will try to regain traction at home against the Kansas City Royals beginning Monday afternoon.

The Cardinals are coming off a 4-3 walk-off loss to the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday.

“At the end of the day, I felt our guys took some pretty good swings and weren’t rewarded,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “Came up short.”

Prior to hitting the road last week, the Cardinals had won 11 of 14 games to pull back into the National League Central race after an ugly 10-24 start.

Over the weekend, St. Louis dropped two of three to Cleveland, the Cardinals’ first series loss since May 5-7 against the Detroit Tigers.

The Cardinals will send Adam Wainwright (2-0, 6.33 ERA) to the mound in the opener of the two-game series against Kansas City. The Royals will start Josh Staumont (0-0, 4.76) in what figures to be a bullpen game.

Wainwright told Bally Sports Midwest, “Earlier this year we were finding ways to lose. Now we’re finding ways to win, we’re getting back on track.”

Wainwright will make his fifth start of the season after recovering from a groin muscle strain sustained while training with Team USA during the World Baseball Classic. He has allowed four or more earned runs in three of his four starts, but the Cardinals won the past three with big offensive performances.

In his most recent outing, Wainwright allowed the Reds to score five runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings in Cincinnati’s hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park last Tuesday.

“Two outs, nobody on, again. Bloop hit, again. Followed by an extra-base hit, again,” the right-hander said after that game. “All the bloops were followed by an extra-base hit. Too many extra-base hits.”

Marmol shuffled his starting rotation to line up Wainwright to oppose the right-handed Royals hitters. Wainwright is 7-3 with a 3.61 ERA in 16 career appearances against the Royals, including 13 starts.

The Royals had lost three games in a row and seven of eight before edging the Washington Nationals 3-2 on Sunday. They rallied with solo homers by MJ Melendez in the seventh inning and Edward Olivares in the eighth inning, and then Michael Massey delivered a walk-off single in the ninth inning.

“The homers were huge, I mean that was the only offense we had,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “MJ had a tough at-bat before that, and then being able — I believe that was with two strikes, too — to hit it opposite field, that’s impressive power, too, 400 and something feet opposite field.

“And then (Olivares) was ready to hit. You saw a couple of his other at-bats where he was ready to hit early, took aggressive swings and then he expanded the zone the at-bat before. But to still be ready to hit right there on the first pitch was very impressive.”

Staumont will serve as Kansas City’s opener on Monday, with Mike Mayers (0-0, 2.45) in line to pitch multiple innings in relief.

Staumont is 2-0 with a 4.76 ERA in six career relief appearances against the Cardinals. Mayers has never faced St. Louis.

Kansas City made a roster change on Sunday, putting reliever Josh Taylor (left shoulder impingement) on the 15-day injured list to make room for left-hander Daniel Lynch, who started against the Nationals. Lynch got a no-decision after allowing two runs in 5 1/3 innings in his season debut after recovering from a left rotator cuff strain.

–Field Level Media

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