Lance Lynn will try to become just the third National League pitcher with eight wins when he takes the mound Wednesday, as the St. Louis Cardinals continue their I-70 Series with the Kansas City Royals.
The Cardinals took both matchups at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium to start the week and now the series shifts to Busch Stadium in the Gateway City.
Hoping to keep the Cardinals on track is Lynn. The right-hander is 7-1 in 10 starts with a 2.95 earned run average and 2-0 in his previous three outings. In a 7-0 victory at Los Angeles on Friday, Lynn struck out nine over six shutout innings and scattered two hits with one walk.
Lynn wanted to stay in the game, but knew it was time to exit after six due to lower back and hamstring tightness.
"As the game went on, it just kept getting tighter and tighter and it kept getting harder to get looser," Lynn said. "I would have loved to go longer, and I wish I could have, but we made the decision that we'll let the bullpen finish it from there and we'll get ready for the next one."
He is 4-0 in five home starts this season and hasn't suffered defeat at Busch Stadium in the regular season since last Sept. 7. Lynn did not receive a decision in his only start against the Royals last June 24, when he allowed six runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings of an 11-8 win.
The Cardinals hope Lynn can become the third straight starter to win after Adam Wainwright and Tyler Lyons took care of business in K.C. In Tuesday's 4-1 win, Lyons delivered seven innings of one-run ball and surrendered just two hits with five K's and one walk.
"Lyons is just pitching good for us right now," Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran said. "After missing (Jaime) Garcia in the rotation, they go into the minor league system and find another lefty and he's doing the job for us."
Trevor Rosenthal and Edward Mujica pitched a scoreless inning of relief apiece with Mujica picking up his 16th save.
Beltran hit a two-run homer, while Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday both went deep for NL Central-leading St. Louis, which is still 1 1/2 games ahead of Cincinnati in the division and has won three straight, six of seven and 20 of the last 26 games.
The Cardinals are undefeated in their last nine series (8-0-1) and have the most wins (34) and road victories (20) in the majors.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and shortstop Pete Kozma both had the day off Tuesday and are expected to be back in the lineup at Busch Stadium, where the Cards will begin a nine-game homestand versus the Royals, Giants and Diamondbacks.
Kansas City will play the next five games on the road (St. Louis, Texas) and have lost seven in a row and 11 of 12 games.
In last night's home loss, Ervin Santana didn't give his club a chance after he was tagged for all four runs and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings. Santana is still stuck on 99 career wins.
"What are you asking me to do," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Take my belt off and spank them? Yell at them? Scream at them? What do you want? I mean, these kids, every day we go through the process. All right? We're talking constantly about approach."
Billy Butler drove in the only run for the Royals in the first inning and finished with a team-best two hits. Butler eclipsed the 1,000-hit mark in his career and is the ninth player to achieve the feat in a Royals uniform.
"The fans gave me a great reception. That was a great moment, and I am appreciative of that," Butler said. "Unfortunate that it came in a game like this, got to keep grinding, but the fans treated me really well, and I am very gracious to them for that, and it made me real happy."
The two hits for the Royals were a season low and they have lost the last 10 games at home. The 10 straight home losses tie a club record set April 13-23, 2012.
Luis Mendoza will toe the rubber Wednesday for K.C. and is 1-2 with a 5.05 ERA in eight games (7 starts). He has posted back-to-back no-decisions and last took the mound in Friday's 5-2 loss to the LA Angels, as he allowed only a run in five innings.
Mendoza, a right-hander, has given the Royals at least five innings in four straight appearances and owns an 0-1 mark in two career starts against the Cardinals to go along with a 5.23 ERA.
Kansas City lost four of six meetings with St. Louis in last season's I-70 Series and is just 4-10 in the past 14 matchups between the club's. The Royals won two of three games at Busch Stadium last June 15-17.