Cardinals-Royals Preview

The Associated Press

Facing Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals would not appear to provide the Kansas City Royals with a good opportunity to end their losing streak.

The Cardinals can earn a sixth straight road win in the series by extending the Royals' home skid to nine games Monday.

St. Louis (32-17) has won 16 of 23 versus Kansas City, including five straight and 11 of 14 at Kauffman Stadium. The Cardinals have scored 39 runs in the last four at Kansas City, and enter this series winners in 18 of 24 after a 5-3 victory at Dodger Stadium on Sunday.

That does not bode for the Royals (21-26), who have dropped five in a row and 16 of 20. Their eight-game home slide is the longest since an 0-10 start last year.

"We need wins and wins give confidence, and that's what we need right now," designated hitter Billy Butler told the Royals' official website after he was ejected in Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

"Winning against (the Cardinals) would actually mean more because that is a big one. That is a big confidence shift, big momentum for us."

Butler is 1 for 14 in the last five games and gone without an RBI in eight straight. He's a lifetime .220 hitter at home versus St. Louis.

Wainwright (6-3, 2.38 ERA) is 3-1 with a 3.09 ERA in five starts against the Royals. He allowed three runs in 14 innings to go 1-0 versus Kansas City in 2012.

"Wainwright is going to be tough," Butler said.

The right-hander gave up a run and four hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 10-2 win at San Diego on Tuesday. He was able to rely on a changeup that has not always been working for him this season.

"It's one of those things where the conviction wasn't (previously) there to throw it," Wainwright told the Cardinals' official website. "Part of the way you make a mediocre pitch better is that you don't think about getting beat with it.

"(On Tuesday) I threw it with conviction, and I believed it would do what it was supposed to do."

Ex-Royal Carlos Beltran batted .379 (11 for 29) with a homer and nine RBIs last season in his first action against Kansas City since it traded him to Houston in 2004. Beltran is one of three Cardinals to have faced scheduled Kansas City starter James Shields (2-5, 2.47).

He's 0 for 3 versus Shields, while Matt Holliday is 3 for 8 with two doubles against him.

Shields faces St. Louis for the first time hoping to receive some much-needed run support and avoid a fourth straight losing start. He is 0-3 with a 1.74 ERA in his last four outings during which his teammates have totaled five runs.

The right-hander allowed a two-run homer in the first inning and none the next six while striking out seven without a walk in Wednesday's 3-1 loss at Houston.

"It's a little frustrating,'' manager Ned Yost said. "Especially when James Shields goes out and gives you the type of performance he gives you about every time he goes out. We just have not done a good job with run support with him at all.''

After two in Kansas City, the teams play Wednesday and Thursday in St. Louis.

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