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News » Cardinals-Royals Preview 2008-06-29


Cardinals-Royals Preview 2008-06-29


Cardinals-Royals Preview 2008-06-29
Despite struggling in recent days, the St. Louis Cardinals have a chance to finish their current road trip with a winning record.

The Cardinals look to accomplish that as they conclude their weekend set with the intrastate rival Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon.

St. Louis (46-36) avoided a season-high fourth straight loss with a 5-1 victory over Kansas City on Saturday night, leaving the Cardinals 4-4 on a nine-game interleague road trip. The Cardinals opened the trip by taking two of three at Boston, then lost two of three at Detroit before falling 7-2 to the Royals in Friday's series opener.

The victory also brought St. Louis within 3 1/2 games of the first-place Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.

The loss, meanwhile, cooled off the Royals (37-44), who had won six in a row and 11 of their last 12 contests while going 13-4 during interleague play. Kansas City is 4-1 against St. Louis this season.

On Saturday, Rick Ankiel hit a two-run homer and Chris Duncan drove in a run for St. Louis, which scored one more run than in its previous two games combined.

"Offensively, we've got to get more going," manager Tony La Russa told the Cardinals' official Web site.

Ankiel has hit five home runs and driven in seven runs over his last 10 games, with two of the homers coming against Kansas City.

St. Louis turns to Braden Looper (9-5, 4.22 ERA) to help clinch a winning road trip Sunday. He allowed four runs and seven hits - including three home runs - in seven innings, but still earned the win during an 8-4 victory at Detroit on Tuesday.

"I felt like I was pitching as well as I have this year," said Looper of his most recent start.

The right-hander, who is 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA in his last three starts, allowed a run and five hits in seven innings, but didn't factor in the decision of a 3-2 loss to Kansas City on June 18 in his lone appearance against the Royals.

Kansas City counters with Brian Bannister (7-6, 4.47 ERA) as he tries for a fourth consecutive winning decision.

Bannister allowed three runs - all unearned - along with three hits, six walks and five strikeouts in seven innings of an 8-4 win over Colorado on Monday.

"It's uncharacteristic for him to walk that many and miss with fastballs and secondary pitches like he did," said Royals manager Trey Hillman of Bannister, who's walked only 26 batters in 98 2-3 innings.

The right-hander, who is 3-0 with a 3.41 ERA in his last five contests, is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts against St. Louis. He gave up two runs in seven innings against Looper and the Cardinals last week.

Rookie Mike Aviles had two hits, Ross Gload drove in the lone run and David DeJesus doubled to extend his hitting streak to 13 games for Kansas City, which is 16-10 since losing 12 in a row.

DeJesus is batting .404 (21-for-52) with 14 RBIs during his current streak.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: June 29, 2008

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