ST. LOUIS (AP)—Two players who were minor league teammates until late last month gave the lowly Kansas City Royals’ another dose of interleague success.
“We have a good group of veteran guys and young guys here,” Aviles said. “It makes for a good environment. Right now our record doesn’t show that, but things are turning around.”
David DeJesus had his sixth RBI in two games for the Royals, 29-42 overall and in last place in the AL West but a robust 5-2 in interleague play while taking two of three from Florida and Arizona. The opener of the three-game interleague series between cross-state rivals drew a paid attendance of 43,793, the Cardinals’ fourth straight sellout.
“We’ve played well up to this point and we just need to keep playing well,” manager Trey Hillman said. “You also have to be a little fair with it. When a bat like (Albert) Pujols is out of the lineup, it takes a little pressure off.”
Davies (3-0) allowed one run on five hits with four strikeouts and three walks, allowing only three runners to advance to scoring position. He’s won three of four starts with a 1.46 ERA since being recalled from Triple-A Omaha on May 31.
“Location-wise, early in the game, wasn’t very good at all,” Davies said. “I got some guys to get themselves out, jam themselves a little bit and as the game got going it started to get a little bit better with location.”
Joel Pineiro also put together a strong seven-inning start for the Cardinals, allowing one run on seven hits while matching his season high for innings. He’s 0-1 in his last six starts since beating the Reds with seven innings of one-hit ball on April 29.
“It’ll even out,” Pineiro said. “As long as I’m healthy and out there pitching, helping the team win, that’s all that matters.”
Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen made his first appearance since coming off the disabled list Sunday, working around a fielding error and a hit batsman in a scoreless ninth. The Cardinals plan to ease Isringhausen, who has six blown saves in 17 chances, a 1-5 record and 7.58 ERA, back into the closer role.
Aviles, the Royals’ minor league player of the year last year, is batting .333 with three homers and six RBIs in 12 games since his contract was purchased from Omaha on May 29. He homered into the visitor’s bullpen in left field on a 1-1 pitch from Ron Villone (1-2) with one out in the eighth.
“I was just trying to get the ball into the gap and I got some good wood on it,” Aviles said. “It was a pitch that was up, and I hit it well.”
Aviles, a seventh-round pick in 2003, was leading the Pacific Coast League in RBIs, extra-base hits and total bases with a .338 average when he was called up.
Villone has allowed seven runs on six hits and five walks in his last two outings over 2 2-3 innings. He said he overthrew a changeup on the home run, and the pitch ended up “down the middle.”
“You’d be kidding yourself and kidding your team if you went out there mentally thinking about what happened in your last outing,” Villone said. “I don’t think that happens around here.”
Cesar Izturis doubled to lead off the third when second baseman Mark Grudzielanek apparently didn’t know he was coming and failed to apply a tag for an easy out, and ended up scoring on a double-play ball to put the Cardinals ahead.
The Royals tied it in the fifth on DeJesus’ two-out RBI single. DeJesus is 5-for-9 with six RBIs in the last two games.
Pineiro struck out in both at-bats and is 1-for-22 with 17 strikeouts on the season, the lone hit a two-run double on May 5 at Colorado. … Soria has allowed runs in only two of 28 outings and is holding opponents to a .163 average (17-for-104). … Jose Guillen had two hits and is batting .500 (23-for-46) during an 11-game hitting streak that matches his career best. … Skip Schumaker is batting .388 (19-for-49) in June after singling in four trips. He entered with an NL-best .400 average this month.