Carlos Beltran had four RBI by the end of the second inning on Friday and the Cardinals routed the Royals, 11-4, in the opener of a three-game interleague series.
Beltran had a two-run double in both the first and second innings as the Cardinals jumped out to a 10-1 lead after two. David Freese and Tyler Greene also hit two-run doubles during the early onslaught and Matt Carpenter went 2- for-4 with an RBI in his return from the disabled list.
"It was good to be back, but it was better that we got to go outside and put a good couple innings together and score runs. As a team we haven't been able to do that lately, so it was good to see that," said Beltran, who began his career with the Royals in 1998.
A beneficiary of the run support, Joe Kelly (1-0) went six innings and picked up his first major league win. He allowed three runs and did not issue a walk in his third career start.
St. Louis had lost three of four entering Friday but victimized Kansas City starter Vin Mazzaro (3-2) to the tune of seven runs on six hits over just 1 1/3 innings.
"I didn't really give myself a chance to get into a groove," said Mazzaro. "I was up in the zone a lot. All my pitches were pretty much up tonight."
Salvador Perez made his season debut and hit a two-run homer for the Royals, who took two of three from the Cardinals last weekend as part of their recently concluded 4-2 road trip.
Beltran's first double came after the Cardinals loaded the bases with no outs. A walk, a hit batsmen and a Matt Holliday single preceded Beltran's blast off the fence in left, which made it 2-0. Yadier Molina followed with an RBI single and Carpenter capped the four-run frame with a sac fly.
Eric Hosmer made it 4-1 with an RBI single in the bottom half, but the Cardinals responded with a six-run second, which began, as did the first, with Rafael Furcal and Jon Jay reaching safely.
Beltran's two-bagger, this time to center field, scored both runners and ended Mazzaro's brief outing. Reliever Roman Colon found the going equally difficult and allowed four straight hits upon his entrance. It went as follows: Molina single, Freese double, Carpenter single, Greene double -- score 10-1.
The Royals never recovered.
Carpenter doubled in the fourth and scored on Skip Schumaker's two-bagger, padding the margin.
In the bottom half, the 22-year-old Perez, who had been sidelined since March with torn knee cartilage, belted a two-run blast over the fence in left field.
Billy Butler singled home a run in the ninth to cap the scoring.
It was the first road start of Kelly's career...Carpenter was activated off the 15-day disabled list, where he landed with a strained right oblique. The Cardinals also activated outfielder Jon Jay off the 15-day DL. A sprained right shoulder had sidelined Jay. In a related roster move, St. Louis optioned first baseman Matt Adams and outfielder Adron Chambers to Memphis...Perez hit .331 over 39 games last season and in February signed a deal that could keep him in Kansas City through 2019...Also on Friday the Royals announced that pitcher Felipe Paulino was diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament that could require Tommy John surgery.