ST. LOUIS — Pinch hitter Daniel Descalso hit a two-run single with the bases loaded to snap an eighth-inning tie and the St. Louis Cardinals rallied past the scuffling Kansas City Royals with a 5-3 victory on Wednesday night.
Luis Mendoza got his first career hit and RBI and held the Cardinals to a run in 5 2-3 innings before the bullpen failed for the Royals, who have lost a season-worst eight in a row. They dropped the first two games of the interleague series by a combined 10-4 score and have totaled 11 runs the last six games.
Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran homered for the Cardinals, who have won seven of eight and lead the majors with a 35-17 record, and go for a sweep Thursday with touted rookie Michael Wacha making his major league debut. Randy Choate (1-0) got the last out in the eighth and Edward Mujica finished for his 17th save in 17 chances.
Lance Lynn missed a chance to go 8-1 the first two months both of his seasons in the St. Louis rotation, allowing two runs in seven innings.
Beltran hit his 12th homer off Aaron Crow (0-1) to open the eighth and David Freese tied it with a one-out RBI single. Crow intentionally walked Jon Jay to load the bases, then got Pete Kozma on a called third strike before Descalso bounced one up the middle for his first pinch-hit RBIs of the season.
Crow, who starred at Missouri, allowed five runs while getting just two outs.
Royals rookie David Lough had two hits for a two-game total of six and threw out a runner at the plate. Alex Gordon had three hits and Lorenzo Cain and George Kottaras had an RBI apiece.
The Busch Stadium field showed little signs of wear six days after the mound was removed and the infield dirt covered with sod for an exhibition soccer match between English Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester City that drew a standing room crowd.
Mendoza retired the side in order in the first, a welcome change for the Royals after Molina and Beltran opened with two-run homers the first two games.
The Royals traveled Interstate 70 by bus for the second half of the interleague series after difficulties with the team flight.