ST. LOUIS – The rally came too late for Lance Lynn to get another win. Just in time, though, for the St. Louis Cardinals to keep the scuffling Kansas City Royals down.
Pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso hit a two-run single with the bases loaded to snap a tie in a four-run eighth and the Cardinals rallied for a 5-3 win Wednesday night, the Royals' season-high eighth straight loss.
"It was a good comeback, we haven't had to do that a lot this year," Descalso said. "Of course, I wanted to be in that spot.
"You've got to like that spot."
Luis Mendoza got his first career hit and RBI and held the Cardinals to a run in 5 2-3 innings before the bullpen failed for the Royals. They dropped the first two games of the interleague series by a combined 10-4 score and have totaled 11 runs the last six games.
"We felt like we had it set up," manager Ned Yost said. "We just needed to execute. We battled hard to get the three runs."
Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran homered for the second straight night. The Cardinals have won seven of eight overall, lead the majors with a 35-17 record, and go for a sweep Thursday with touted rookie Michael Wacha making his major league debut.
"It was great, no doubt about that," Beltran said. "We took advantage of their bullpen and we were able to come out big."
Randy Choate (1-0) got the last out in the eighth and Edward Mujica finished for his 17th save in 17 chances, retiring the side in order for the second straight game.
Lynn missed a chance to start out 8-1 for the second straight season, allowing two runs in seven innings but getting hurt most by Mendoza's hit.
Mendoza joked his last hit was "when I was 10 years old, probably."
"I know he is going to throw a strike, just hit the ball," the pitcher added.
Beltran hit his 12th homer off Aaron Crow (0-1) to open the eighth and David Freese tied it with a one-out RBI single. Crow intentionally walked Jon Jay to load the bases, then got Pete Kozma on a called third strike before Descalso bounced one up the middle for his first pinch-hit RBIs of the season.
The Cardinals have won six in a row in the series. They'd been 0-12 when trailing after seven innings before getting to Crow, who allowed five hits and four runs while getting just two outs and said Beltran homered on a "real bad pitch."
"The worst I've ever pitched in my career by far," Crow said. "I feel like I let everyone in this clubhouse down tonight."
Royals rookie David Lough had two hits for a two-game total of six and threw out a runner at the plate. Alex Gordon had three hits and Lorenzo Cain and George Kottaras had an RBI apiece.
The Busch Stadium field showed little signs of wear six days after the mound was removed and the infield dirt covered with sod for an exhibition soccer match between English Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester City that drew a standing room crowd.
Mendoza retired the side in order in the first, a welcome change for the Royals after Molina and Beltran opened with two-run homers the first two games.
Lough tripled to start the fifth and was still there with two outs before Mendoza, who'd been 0 for 6 with five strikeouts for his career, singled to right to put the Royals up 2-0. Mendoza passed on what would have been a double for most players, taking his time getting to first and then speeding up briefly before slamming on the brakes.
The Royals traveled Interstate 70 by bus for the second half of the interleague series after difficulties with the team flight.
Lough earned his second outfield assist, throwing out Allen Craig trying to score from second and tie it at 1 in the fourth on a single by Yadier Molina.
Notes: Mike Moustakas returned for the Royals after missing three games with quad tightness and had two hits. ... Gordon entered with an AL-leading .394 road batting average and is among the leaders with multihit games. .. Beltran saved at least one run in the seventh with a sliding catch on a drive near the RF line by Cain. ... Cardinals 2B Matt Carpenter made an outstanding play in the second, diving to his right to snare a liner by Chris Getz, the only hard-hit ball from the Royals the first time through the order.