Led by feisty offense, Royals hope to take down Cards

The Kansas City Royals scored two runs or fewer nine times during a 6-9 rut. They then exploded for 10 runs in a drubbing of the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.

Kansas City will attempt to ride its power surge on Tuesday when it visits the St. Louis Cardinals for the opener of a two-game series.

“That shows you what our offense can do, and I still think we can do more,” Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. said of the offensive performance in their 10-1 win over Colorado on Sunday.

Witt and Maikel Garcia each blasted three-run homers and MJ Melendez hit a solo shot on Sunday for Kansas City, which ripped 12 hits to snap a three-game skid.

“The starters have been amazing, and all we want to do is get the run support for them,” Melendez said. “We know that they’re going to go out there (and last) six-plus innings, which you don’t see a lot from teams. We want to help them get as many wins as possible, scoring runs while they’re preventing runs.”

One of those starters Melendez is referring to is former Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha (5-6, 3.74 ERA), who has been stellar since early May.

Since May 9, Wacha has gone 4-2 with a 2.31 ERA in eight starts. One of those wins came against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, when Wacha gave up one run and two hits in six innings.

Wacha has gone 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA in two career starts against his former team.

The Cardinals have won six of their past eight games to move six games over .500 for the first time this season.

“When you dig yourself a hole, it takes a ton physically and emotionally for that clubhouse to get out of it and get to where we are right now,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said after his team blanked the Washington Nationals 6-0 on Monday. “We’re not close to being done.”

Right-hander Andre Pallante (4-3, 4.00) will get the ball for the Cardinals on Tuesday.

Since getting recalled from Triple-A Memphis on May 26, Pallante is 4-2 with a 3.34 ERA in seven starts.

Pallante, who gave up three runs (two earned) in two innings of relief on Aug. 11, 2023, in his only appearance against Kansas City, is coming off a no-decision Thursday against the Pirates. He lasted seven innings against Pittsburgh, yielding one run and four hits.

“When I’m throwing my fastball in the zone in good spots, good things are going to happen to me,” Pallante said after facing the Pirates. “The more often I can keep that ball in the zone, it keeps the pressure on the hitters and gets them to swing at some pitches that might be off the plate.”

The Cardinals got closer to full strength ahead of the series opener Tuesday, as outfielder Lars Nootbaar (oblique strain) came off the 10-day injured list on Monday.

Nootbaar went 1-for-4 in the win over Washington.

“It’s exciting to have him back,” Marmol said. “Team’s playing well — any time you can inject a good player into a team that’s doing well, that’s a good thing.”

–Field Level Media