Carlos Beltran aims to continue his hot run at the plate this afternoon when the Cardinals resume their series with the Kansas City Royals.
Beltran went 2-for-4 last night and his stolen base in the second inning was the 300th of his career. With the steal, he became the first switch-hitter to hit 300 home runs and steal 300 bases.
Over his last five games, Beltran is 11-for-19 with three homers and has driven in three runs. That's raised his average to .301 for the season.
The Cardinals will not only need Beltran's bat and speed today, but will try to forget about the dramatic ending to last night's 3-2 loss.
Jonathan Broxton worked a scoreless ninth inning to earn his 16th save of the year and the 100th of his career, but the Royals nearly blew the lead.
Tyler Greene legged out an infield hit with two outs and then stole second. The throw from catcher Humberto Quintero was low and dribbled toward shortstop, allowing Greene to advance to third. The throw to third from second baseman Chris Getz was wide, however, and third baseman Mike Moustakas chased the ball down and threw home, where Quintero used his right foot to block the plate and applied the tag to end the game.
"I screamed 'No' so loud I lost my voice for like three minutes," Royals manager Ned Yost said about Getz' throw to third. "Just by a stroke of luck it hit that rail into the opening of the dugout and bounced back out and [Moustakas] made a perfect throw."
Vin Mazzaro (3-1) scattered five hits and a walk with four strikeouts.
Jarrod Dyson added two hits and an RBI for the Royals, who won their fourth straight game.
Kyle Lohse (6-2) allowed three runs on 10 hits and two walks over seven innings, snapping a streak of seven straight starts without a loss.
"It was a battle tonight for me. I didn't have very good command of anything," said Lohse. "For as many hits as I gave up, to give up only three runs was an accomplishment tonight."
Bruce Chen toes the rubber today for the Royals. The lefty, who will pitch three days prior to his 35th birthday, is coming off a loss at Pittsburgh on Sunday. In that game, he allowed four hits and three runs over five innings before being lifted for a pinch-hitter.
Prior to that, Chen was on a roll, winning five of six starts and giving up more than three runs just once in that span. He's 1-3 with a 5.24 ERA in nine games (3 starts) when facing the Cardinals.
Joe Kelly gets his second major league start this afternoon. The 24-year-old right-hander scattered seven hits and allowed one run in a no-decisi9on against Cleveland on Sunday. The Cardinals lost that game, 4-1.
St. Louis won four of six from the Royals last season.