Wells, who leads the majors with 11 losses, was told three hours before Tuesday night’s 5-1 win over the Royals (29-43) that he was being sent to the bullpen.
Getting the ball a day ahead of schedule, Brad Thompson pitched seven strong innings to lead pitching-starved St. Louis (31-37) to a win in the series’ second game. Todd Wellemeyer (2-1, 7.03 ERA), who was also moved up a day, will try to successfully follow Thompson’s solid outing.
The right-hander is 2-0 with a 5.71 ERA as a starter for St. Louis this season after being claimed off waivers from Kansas City on May 15. He had a 10.34 ERA in 15 2-3 innings in 2007 for the Royals, who picked him up off waivers from Florida in 2006.
Wellemeyer gave up three runs and six hits in 3 1-3 innings as St. Louis beat Oakland 15-6 on Saturday. This will be his first appearance against Kansas City.
The Cardinals have scored five or more runs for Wellemeyer in his four starts. Chris Duncan made sure Thompson got enough runs for a win Tuesday.
Duncan hit a two-run shot—his third homer in five games—and went 2-for-3 with three RBIs. The left fielder has 12 RBIs in his last five games.
“I think the best is ahead for Chris this season,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa told the team’s official Web site.
St. Louis center fielder So Taguchi went 1-for-4, and is batting .450 (18-for-40) with six RBIs during a career-high 12-game hitting streak.
Kansas City’s lineup, meanwhile, took a hit Tuesday with Mike Sweeney (knee) being placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Sweeney, batting .245 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs in 57 games, was replaced on the roster by Billy Butler. The 21-year-old outfielder-first baseman, the team’s first-round pick in the 2004 amateur draft, is making his second appearance with the Royals this season after hitting .243 with two doubles and four RBIs the first two weeks of May.
Butler batted .291 with 13 homers and 46 RBIs in 57 games at Triple-A Omaha.
“It’s the big leagues, but you have to go up there and relax and do what I do best,” Butler said.
The Royals will give the ball to Gil Meche (4-6, 3.00 ERA), who ended a five-start losing streak Friday night, allowing one run and six hits in eight innings to beat Florida 6-2.
“The first three innings I couldn’t get real comfortable,” Meche told the Royals’ official Web site. “I was looking at my tapes to see if I noticed anything. My rhythm wasn’t where it needed to be. I was going to be early, I was going to be late, I couldn’t get my leg up in time. Finally, I just slowed down into a good rhythm.”
The right-hander posted a 5.76 ERA during his skid.
This will be Meche’s first appearance against St. Louis.