Cardinals Draw First Blood, Young Wide-Eyed David Caruso Next To Die

Josh DugganCorrespondent IMay 23, 2009

After giving up two runs in the bottom of the first inning, Kyle Davies calmed down working very efficient home halves of the second through fifth innings.

From the two-out two-run Nick Stavinoha single that drove in Brian Barden and Albert Pujols, Kyle Davies retired every Cardinals hitter until the dragon slayer, Albert Pujols batted with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, whereupon Pujols yanked a line drive single into shallow right. Along the way, Davies struck out seven.

Of course, the Royals struggled mightily to score runs, going scoreless through seven--finally driving the previously hittable Todd Wellemeyer from the game after putting the first two runners (Mike Jacobs and John Buck) on in the top of the seventh without recording an out.

Jason Motte quelled the best chance for a Royals rally with two outs after David DeJesus sacrifice bunted the two-slowest-Royals-not-carrying-the-surname-Guillen to second and third by striking out pinch-hitters Willie Bloomquist and Billy Butler on nothing but mid-to-high 90s fastballs.

Horacio Ramirez gave up an opposite-field gopher ball in the bottom of the seventh to Tyler Greene of all people, which extended the Cardinals lead to 3-0.

After the Royals failed to put any runs on the board, Ramirez came back out in the eighth inning and promptly gave up a single to left-handed hitter Skip Schumaker followed by a double by right-handed Brian Barden that was stopped quickly enough by David DeJesus that Schumaker still stood at third.

Riding an 11-game scoreless appearance streak, Kyle Farnsworth came in to clean up a bases loaded (Pujols was intentionally walked before Chris Duncan popped out in foul territory to Mark Teahen) situation and immediately gave up a two-run single to Khalil Greene.

His streak is still in tact, and with the way the Royals' bullpen has been lately, two runs allowed in that situation is about as good as you could hope for. It is vaguely reminiscent of the early season issues he had, unfortunately.

While the Cardinals offense was putting five runs on the board, the Royals offense managed exactly zero runs.

Those zero runs were off Todd Wellemeyer and the St. Louis Cardinals. That is the same Todd Wellemeyer who had pitched well enough to carry a 5.87 ERA and 1.74 WHIP into action. The same Todd Wellemeyer who had more earned runs allowed than strikeouts (30 to 27).

Obviously, Wellemeyer's .349 BABIP heading into action factored into his struggles, but the fact remains that the previously pedestrian Wellemeyer thoroughly dominated the Royals.

The sweep is out of the picture now, but one has to start to wonder when the Royals will begin to put things back together again. They have now squandered three straight quality starts with offensive ineptitude (not that the bullpen has done them any favors either, of course).

Kansas City's hopes for contention cannot weather this storm much longer. They need to start scoring runs.