Cardinals, Royals in long rain delay

Bucky Dent, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- Another St. Louis Cardinals rookie pitcher made another dominant debut Thursday night, but the Kansas City Royals and heavy rain had different ideas of justice.
Jeff Francoeur's leadoff homer in the top of the ninth tied the score, and Eric Hosmer's bases-loaded, two-run double gave the Royals a 4-2 lead before the game was halted for a lengthy rain delay.
Per Major League Baseball rules, the game must be played to completion since Kansas City (21-29) took the lead in the ninth. The teams have just two mutual open dates over the season's remainder -- June 24 and July 18.
Highly touted Michael Wacha allowed just two hits and a run in seven innings and was in line for the win, but the Cardinals (35-17) couldn't even pick up an out in the ninth before a deluge hit after Hosmer's tie-breaking blow off Victor Marte.
With closer Edward Mujica unavailable after earning saves in four straight games, St. Louis manager Mike Matheny turned to Mitchell Boggs to start the ninth. However, Boggs, who was so ineffective in April and early May that he earned a brief demotion to Triple-A Memphis, served up Francoeur's first homer since April 10.
After walking Alex Gordon, Boggs was pulled to loud boos from a near-capacity audience. Marte came on and hit Alcides Escobar with a pitch, then committed a throwing error on David Lough's bunt while trying to get Gordon at third.
Hosmer then chopped a 1-1 pitch over drawn-in first baseman Allen Craig, scoring Gordon and Escobar. After an intentional walk to pinch hitter Chris Getz, the skies opened up before Miguel Tejada could bat.
Wacha was bidding to became the fourth St. Louis rookie to earn his first major league win in May. The 2012 first-round pick came up from Memphis after going 4-0 with a 2.05 ERA over nine starts in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie allowed two runs on eight hits in six innings.
The crowd of 43,916 waited an hour for the first big-league pitch from Wacha, and the fans weren't disappointed. Mixing a fastball that topped out at 96 mph with a changeup in the low to mid 80s, Wacha mowed down the first 13 Kansas City hitters he faced, fanning four.
Lorenzo Cain ended any thoughts of a debut perfect game with a one-out double to left-center in the fifth, then scored on Elliot Johnson's two-out single to right to cut St. Louis' lead to 2-1.
The Cardinals scored twice in the first inning with two outs. Craig beat out an infield single to score Matt Carpenter, moved to second on Yadier Molina's hit and rode home on David Freese's single.
St. Louis missed on chances to add to its lead, leaving the bases loaded in the second and stranding two more in the fourth.
NOTES: To make room for Wacha, St. Louis demoted RHP Michael Blazek to Triple-A Memphis and reassigned LHP Jaime Garcia from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. Blazek was on the roster for four days but didn't get into a game. Garcia is out for the year after undergoing rotator cuff and labrum surgery last week ... Entering Thursday's action, American League pitchers had six hits in National League venues. Three were by Kansas City (Guthrie, RHP James Shields and RHP Luis Mendoza) ... Cardinals RHP Jake Westbrook threw about 60 pitches in a bullpen session Thursday and will throw again Saturday. Westbrook, who went on disabled list three weeks ago due to right elbow inflammation, could go on a rehabilitation assignment next week if all goes well.

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