Although there wasn’t a welcome mat outside Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, it certainly seemed like it for the St. Louis Cardinals Friday night.
First, Carlos Beltran returned to his rookie major league home for the first time since the Royals traded him to the Houston Astros in 2004. In addition, the Cardinals welcomed back some old friends — Jon Jay and Matt Carpenter were activated after more than a month on the disabled list. And, finally, the offense that disappeared in Detroit earlier in the week (and has done so off and on for more than a month now) was back in a big way.
And it all added up to a very welcome 11-4 Cardinals win over the Royals.
Beltran doubled with the bases loaded in the first inning and again with two on in the second, feeling right at home and comfortable in his old ballpark. Yet he was far from the only one — the Cardinals scored 10 runs in the first two innings.
Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter each drove in first inning runs also, while David Freese and Tyler Greene each doubled in two runs apiece in the second. The Cardinals had 17 hits total, with Matt Holliday and Freese having three each.
And the offense was more than enough to help Joe Kelly get his first major league victory, which Jenifer Langosch described:
After a pair of no-decisions, Kelly went a career-high six innings in his third big-league start. He allowed three runs on nine hits, one of which was a two-run homer by catcher Salvador Perez.
His fastball command wavered for most of the night, but Kelly did a better job pitching lower in the strike zone as his outing progressed. After allowing five hits the first time through the lineup, the right-hander limited the Royals to just four in his final four innings.
“I didn’t try to look at the score,” Kelly said. “I didn’t try to pitch to the score. I tried to go out there and do what I usually do. But it’s always nice to have that much run support.”
Afterward, Kelly was presented with some tickets and game-used balls as mementos for the milestone.
Following Kelly in the game were Sam Freeman and Eduardo Sanchez, who each pitched a scoreless inning, and Fernando Salas, who allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth.
It’s a quick turnaround for the two teams, as the series continues this afternoon at 1:15 p.m. Just like last Sunday, Adam Wainwright and Luis Mendoza will be facing each other. Unlike last Sunday, let’s hope the Cardinals continue this tear on offense and have a better outcome.
For the Royals’ perspective on the series, check out Jen’s work at Drinking the Royals Blue-Aid.