Jim Edmonds is quietly enjoying one of the best years of his career.
Edmonds had two homers among his four hits Saturday, leading the Cardinals to a 13-9 triumph in the middle game of the set. St. Louis has won three of four and took over sole possession of first place in the NL Central.
“It was just one of those nights when I got some pitches to hit and swung the bat well,” Edmonds said. “It’s no big deal. That’s my job.”
Edmonds also had two doubles and drove in three runs to continue his recent display of power. He has five homers in the last four games, giving him a team-high 24 this season, and is batting .522 (12-for-23) during that stretch with 11 RBIs.
His 55 RBIs are tied with Edgar Renteria for second on the club behind Albert Pujols’ 69. Renteria homered, stole three bases and drove in four runs Saturday, and Scott Rolen homered for the second straight game.
Rookie Bo Hart, hitless on Friday, went 4-for-6 and scored four runs—his seventh multihit game in just nine major league contests, raising his average to .489.
“I just go up there and try to swing the bat well every time,” Hart said. “Whether I got a hit the last time doesn’t matter.”
The Royals have won their last seven series, including the first part of the I-70 Series last weekend.
STANDINGS: Cardinals - 1st place, NL Central. Royals - 1st place, AL Central.
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Brett Tomko (3-5, 5.73 ERA). Tomko has been hit hard this season but is coming off two of his best starts of the year— allowing a combined four earned runs over 13 1-3 innings. The veteran right-hander didn’t figure into the decision of St. Louis’ 7-4 loss to Cincinnati on Tuesday, despite yielding just two runs and seven hits over seven innings. Tomko is 2-1 with a 4.20 ERA in five career appearances against the Royals, including four starts.
ROYALS PROBABLE STARTER: Chris George (9-4, 6.18 ERA). George is 4-0 with a 5.73 ERA over his last four starts and hasn’t lost since a 15-7 setback to Seattle on May 27. The 24-year-old left-hander yielded just one run and seven hits over 5 2-3 innings of Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Cleveland, striking out three and walking three. He makes his first career start against St. Louis.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Cardinals - Pujols, .386 avg., 69 RBIs and 72 runs; Edmonds, 24 HRs; Renteria, 17 SBs. Royals - Mike Sweeney, .321 avg., 12 HRs and 50 RBIs; Ibanez, 48 runs; Carlos Beltran, 19 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Cardinals, 9-8; Royals, 9-7.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Cardinals - RHP Kiko Calero will miss the rest of the season after rupturing the tendon under his right kneecap in Saturday’s game. The 28-year-old rookie, who was taken off the field on a stretcher, will have surgery Monday. … 1B Tino Martinez is batting .365 (31-for-85) with eight doubles, six homers and 24 RBIs over his last 26 games, lifting his average from .245 to .280. … The Cardinals will wear replica uniforms of the 1928 St. Louis Stars as part of the Royals’ “Salute to the Negro Leagues” Day. The uniforms will then be auctioned off and all proceeds will go to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Royals - With a win, LHP George would tie the club record for most wins by a lefty before the All-Star Break, joining Bud Black (1984); Larry Gura (’80 and ’82) and Paul Splittorff (’78 and ’79). … 3B Joe Randa is batting just .133 (4-for-30) over his last eight games. … RHP Mike MacDougal has is the first Royals pitcher to save five consecutive. He has already tied the club’s rookie record for saves in a single season with 20 (Doug Bird, ’73).
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cardinals - 17-22 on the road; Royals - 21-16 at home.
INJURIES: Cardinals - C Steve Torrealba (elbow), 15-day DL; C Chris Widger (thumb), 15-day DL; INF Miguel Cairo (hand), 15-day DL; 2B Fernando Vina (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF Eli Marrero (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Russ Springer (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Gene Stechschulte (shoulder), 60-day DL. Royals - 1B Mike Sweeney (back), 15-day DL; INF Mendy Lopez (calf), 15-day DL; OF Dee Brown (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Runelvys Hernandez (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Miguel Asencio (elbow), 60-day DL.