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Cardinals maintain mastery of Royals

The SportsXchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It is the same story for major league baseball in Missouri: The St. Louis Cardinals keep winning, and the Kansas City Royals keep losing.

While about 250 miles separate the cities, the distance in the standings are even more pronounced. A prime reason why was displayed Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Tyler Lyons held Kansas City to two hits over seven innings, and the Cardinals backed him with three home runs to beat the Royals 4-1.

"He was very good and pitched different today," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He had a little trouble at first finding his fastball, but he had his breaking ball going today, and that kept them off-balance. He made a good adjustment and found his fastball later."

The Cardinals won for the 20th time in 26 games, while the Royals have lost 10 straight home games, tying a franchise record set in April 2012.

"Just the life, the energy -- they're enjoying showing up every day to play the game," Matheny said of the Cardinals' success. "And you can tell they're really lifting each other up."

The Cardinals (34-17) have the best record in the majors. The Royals (21-28) led the division on May 1, but they have lost a season-high seven straight and 18 of 22, scoring three or fewer runs in 15 of those defeats.

So how does Royals manager Ned Yost hold his underachieving club, especially his offense, accountable?

"What are asking me to do?" Yost said. "Take my belt off and spank them, yell at them, scream at them? What do you want?

"I understand your question. Do we need to make changes? This can't continue. Somewhere down the road, we're going to have to make some changes. Are changes coming if this continues? I would imagine, yeah. We can't continue this. But to grab them, shake them, yell at them, scream at them, threaten to go down right now, it doesn't do the trick."

The Cardinals led from the start, as Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer in the first, his team-leading 11th of the season.

Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday homered in the sixth off Ervin Santana (3-5). Santana topped the majors last year when he surrendered 39 home runs; he's given up 13 through 10 starts this year, including seven in his past two.

Lyons, who held the San Diego Padres to one run and four hits in his major league debut last week, was even better against the Royals. He allowed one run, walked one and struck out five.

"I like not having to pitch out of the stretch, so that was good," Lyons said.

After Billy Butler's run-producing double in the first, Lyons retired 17 in a row. Butler ended the streak with a seventh-inning single.

Trevor Rosenthal struck out two Royals in the eighth inning, and Edward Mujica worked a perfect ninth to log his 16th save in as many opportunities.

The Cardinals started the game Tuesday night as they did Monday, leading 2-0 after two batters.

Carpenter led off the game with a single, and Beltran homered to right on an 0-1 pitch from Santana. Beltran was the 1999 American League Rookie of the Year while with the Royals.

Yadier Molina hit a two-run homer Monday in the first inning.

The Royals got a run back in the bottom of the first when Alex Gordon, who was moved back to the leadoff slot, walked and scored on Butler's double to left-center. It was Butler's 1,000th career hit, and he tipped his cap to the cheering fans as he stood at second base. It was the last time the Royals fans had anything to cheer about.

"I'm appreciative of the fans," Butler said. "It made me very happy. The fans treat me very well. It's unfortunate it came in a game like this.

"It's another tough game. We've had a lot of tough games. It's definitely getting frustrated. We've got to find ways to win. We're just not doing good offensively."

The Royals went 4-14 with Gordon batting third, but they were 17-13 with him batting first. Lorenzo Cain hit third for the first time this season, while Butler moved back into the cleanup slot. Cain went 0-for-4; Gordon was 0-for-3.

NOTES: RHP Michael Wacha, the Cardinals' 2012 first-round pick from Texas A&M, will make his big-league debut Thursday in a start against the Royals. Wacha, 21, was 4-0 with a Pacific Coast League-leading 2.05 ERA in nine starts with Triple-A Memphis. He will be the eighth rookie pitcher to appear for the Cardinals this year. ... Royals 3B Mike Moustakas missed his third straight game with a quadriceps injury, but he is expected to return to the lineup Wednesday. ... C Adam Moore made his first Royals start since his promotion Sunday. He finished 0-for-2. ... Rookie OF David Lough, who had four hits Monday, was not in the Kansas City lineup Tuesday against a left-handed starter. He struck out as a pinch hitter.
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