Wild play ends Cardinals' 3-2 loss to Royals
Tyler Greene almost tied it with his legs.
AP Sports Writer
Tyler Greene almost tied it with his legs.
After watching several replays from various angles, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny wasn't sure whether Greene should have been safe at the plate in the bang-bang call that ended a 3-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.
"It's hard to tell when you slow it down," Matheny said. "A guy blocks a plate, comes up with the ball, most of the time the call's going to be out."
Except for the fact it failed, Matheny had no problem with Greene's aggressive baserunning.
"Tyler did a great job pushing it right there and gave us a chance," Matheny said. "We've got to make something happen right there."
Third baseman Mike Moustakas made the throw that ended Greene's trek around the bases as the Royals earned their fourth consecutive victory.
Greene reached on a two-out infield hit for his third single of the game, and stole second while banging shortstop Alcides Escobar's glove away from the throw by catcher Humberto Quintero. Greene headed for home after second baseman Chris Getz's throw to third was off line and appeared headed for the visitors' dugout.
Instead, the ball caromed off the handrail and back to Moustakas, who cut down Greene at home. Quintero appeared to block Greene's foot just long enough for his chest-high tag to count.
"I know it's a close play, but I thought I got in there," Greene said. "That's a long run there, I was running with everything I had into home, and what happened, happened."
Carlos Beltran, who became the first switch hitter in major league history with 300 homers and 300 steals, and St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse both thought official replay should be expanded to included plays like this one.
"Close? That's the way it goes," Lohse said. "Until we get replay, you never know."
"What it looked like on replay was he was safe," Beltran said. "It's a tough call for the umpire right there and that's why I'm a believer replay has to be more involved with plays like that. The big thing about this game is being able to make the right call and as players we're just asking for that."
The crazy finish came after Yadier Molina eased up on what he believed was an infield hit to start the St. Louis ninth. The catcher belatedly sped up after Escobar's diving stop, and the shortstop made a strong throw to first as Molina banged his helmet with his hands.
Vin Mazzaro worked six scoreless innings and Jeff Francoeur had two RBIs for Kansas City, which matched its longest winning streak of the season. Jarrod Dyson added two hits, a walk and an RBI.
Jonathan Broxton worked the ninth for his 16th save in 18 chances and No. 100 for his career.
The Royals also won four straight from May 12-15 at the Chicago White Sox and Texas.
Beltran had two hits and is batting .467 (14 for 30) during an eight-game hitting streak. He reached the 300-300 milestone against his first major league team, but was caught stealing by Mazzaro's pickoff throw during the next at-bat.
The Royals trail the Interstate 70 rivalry 38-29, but are 14-14 in St. Louis.
Lohse (6-2) scattered 10 hits in seven innings, giving up three runs. He has worked at least five innings in all but two of his 20 career starts against the Royals.
"I didn't have very good command of anything, just tried to get by with what I had," Lohse said "It was an accomplishment to be able to do that with the stuff I ran out there with."
Mazzaro (3-1) blanked the opposition through six innings for the second time in three starts, needing just 80 pitches while keeping the Cardinals off balance. Matt Holliday was an easy out all three times after entering the game 4 for 5 with a homer and three RBIs against the 25-year-old right-hander.
Mazzaro was briefly visited by a trainer in his last inning and was pulled with right calf tightness. But he did enough to earn his first interleague victory in seven decisions. He gave up four runs, three earned, in three-plus innings in a loss at Pittsburgh in his previous start.
Escobar doubled with two outs in the second and scored on Dyson's infield hit, and Alex Gordon doubled leading off the third and scored on Francoeur's single.
Francoeur added a sacrifice fly in the seventh as the Royals built a 3-0 lead.
Matt Adams had an RBI double and pinch-hitter Shane Robinson delivered a run-scoring single as the Cardinals jumped on Roman Colon in the bottom half to pull within one.
Colon, recalled from Triple-A Omaha on Thursday to bolster an overworked bullpen, made his first major league appearance since 2010 when he made the opening-day roster and appeared in just five games.
NOTES: Royals manager Ned Yost said he would platoon Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler, the regular DH, at 1B in interleague games at NL parks. ... Cardinals SS and leadoff man Rafael Furcal, mired in a 1-for-24 slump, did not start but was at the plate as a pinch hitter when the game ended. "I don't think it's necessarily anything mechanical, it's just physically he's beat," Matheny said. ... Cardinals second-round pick Carson Kelly, a high school 3B from Beaverton, Ore., signed and betrayed no sense of awe in an impressive round of batting practice, with Matheny and batting coach Mark McGwire watching from beyond the cage. Matheny joked that the usual over-under on draftees is no balls hit out of the cage the first time around. "Most kids want to come up here and just start launching," Matheny said, "and they walk out with their head hanging low." ... Gordon has scored in eight straight games after entering the game the only player in the majors with a pair of seven-game streaks with a run scored, according to STATS LLC.