Offense has been hard to come by for the St. Louis Cardinals, who haven't scored any runs in their last two games.
The slumping Cardinals try to avoid getting shut out in three straight for the first time in nearly 40 years as they continue a home-and-home series against the visiting Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
St. Louis (30-28) has dropped five of six after collecting three singles in Monday's series-opening 6-0 defeat. The Cardinals, who suffered an 8-0 loss to San Francisco the day before, have been outscored 36-15 while hitting .200 during their slide.
"It's a long season. You're going to have those times," said catcher Yadier Molina, mired in a 2-for-21 funk. "We know we're good hitters."
St. Louis is batting .238 with runners in scoring position and averaging just 3.8 runs to rank in the bottom-third of baseball in both categories. The Cardinals haven't been blanked in three straight since losing their final three games in 1976.
"We've had lots of meetings, we've had the conversations we needed to have," manager Mike Matheny said. "What we're doing right now isn't going to work and they know that. We all do."
The Royals (27-30) have now won five straight interleague games by a 25-4 margin. Salvador Perez went 3 for 4 with two runs and an RBI and Alex Gordon hit his fifth homer. Mike Moustakas also came up big with a two-run double in his second game since getting called back up from Triple-A Omaha.
Kansas City is hoping to see James Shields (6-3, 3.36 ERA) get back on track after posting a 6.92 ERA and serving up five homers over his last two starts, matching his total from his first 10 outings. The right-hander, who had a 2.67 ERA in his first 10, was tagged for six runs over seven innings in Thursday's 8-6, 10-inning win at Toronto.
Shields was also hit hard in his only appearance versus St. Louis, yielding six runs and a career worst-tying five walks over six innings in a 6-3 defeat May 27, 2013. He's compiled a 0.64 ERA in winning each of his two interleague starts this year, though.
Shields probably isn't looking forward to facing Jhonny Peralta, who is 11 for 29 with three homers in their matchups. However, the veteran shortstop is 4 for 38 with one extra-base hit over his last 11 games.
Matt Holliday and Peter Bourjos have also fared well against Shields, going a combined 7 for 17 with three doubles. Holliday, who has reached safely in all 29 home games, is 19 for 34 with four homers, four doubles and 12 RBIs during a nine-game stretch against the Royals.
The Cardinals give the ball to Jaime Garcia (1-0, 4.12), who has struck out 19 and walked none through his first three starts spanning 19 2-3 innings since debuting May 18. The left-hander yielded three runs and served up two homers over seven innings in a 6-5 loss to San Francisco on Thursday.
"You go out there, try to get ahead and try to keep the ball down," he told MLB's official website. "Unfortunately today I made some mistakes and I feel like I didn't do my job."
Garcia is 0-1 with a 7.30 ERA in three starts against the Royals, but he hasn't faced them since 2011.
After this game, St. Louis and Kansas City play the first of two at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday.