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Cardinals can't run down win against Royals

Martinez steals home on odd play, but DPs hurt scoring chances
MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- One strange play resulted in the only run the Cardinals produced in support of Luke Weaver in a 5-1 loss to the Royals on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.

Jose Martinez stole home when catcher Salvador Perez attempted to pick him off at third. Once Perez threw the ball, Martinez was stuck and had to commit to running home, and he would've been caught had third baseman Mike Moustakas not dropped the throw. The official ruling on the field was a steal of home.

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ST. LOUIS -- One strange play resulted in the only run the Cardinals produced in support of Luke Weaver in a 5-1 loss to the Royals on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.

Jose Martinez stole home when catcher Salvador Perez attempted to pick him off at third. Once Perez threw the ball, Martinez was stuck and had to commit to running home, and he would've been caught had third baseman Mike Moustakas not dropped the throw. The official ruling on the field was a steal of home.

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"When it's a first and third, they are for sure always going to expect [the double steal]," Martinez said. "But it's an aggressive play one hundred percent and that's who we are. We are going to go out there and try to make something happen."

The Cardinals didn't get power from the bats, so they ventured to stealing bases. Yairo Munoz, who had four hits, was thrown out twice trying to steal second. The Cards left 13 runners on base (0-for-6 with RISP). A St. Louis club that ranks 19th in the Majors in stolen bases tried its hand to dig itself out.

Video: KC@STL: Munoz notches 4 singles for first 4-hit game

"I feel really good about my at bats because that's what I've been working on in the cage," Munoz said. "I also feel bad on the other side because I got caught twice. I had to go on both times so there is not much I can do there."

Weaver went seven solid innings, giving up three earned runs on an RBI double by Alcides Escobar and solo homers to Alex Gordon and Perez. Weaver kept the Cardinals in striking distance with eight strikeouts and one walk. Royals starter Jason Hammel struck out six over seven strong frames for his first win of the season.

Video: KC@STL: Weaver freezes Almonte in the top of the 2nd

"Overall, [Weaver] threw the ball really well. He had good stuff," manager Mike Matheny said. "He had a couple solo home runs that got him. I think it looks different if we had any kind of offensive production."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Matheny saw a 3-1 deficit in the ninth as a good opportunity to bring on Greg Holland, who has struggled mightily as of late. Holland allowed two runs against his former team, loading the bases before giving up a two-run single to Jon Jay. Holland has now allowed six earned runs over one inning pitched across his last three appearances.

Video: KC@STL: Jay plates a pair with a single up the middle

"There will continue to be situations where we're down, and hopefully we can get him into a good place in his own mind confidence-wise, but it's a shame right now we can't get him there," Matheny said.

SOUND SMART
Holland's 8.76 ERA ranks as the third-highest among relievers with at least 15 appearances this season.

Video: KC@STL: Matheny discusses offensive woes in loss

HE SAID IT
"Today we were trying to make a couple things happen, but you've got to realize there are times we have green lights on guys and they decide not to go, other times they do. It's games like that when every run is so valuable. When we lose one it's not something we're happy about." -- Matheny, on his offense

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Marcell Ozuna legged out a sharp grounder in the hole in the eighth inning, but he was narrowly thrown out at first with a nice play by Royals shortstop Escobar. The Cardinals challenged the call because they thought first baseman Whit Merrifield's foot was off the bag, but after a brief review the call was confirmed.

Video: KC@STL: Escobar, Merrifield connect to rob Ozuna

UP NEXT
The first installment of this year's I-70 Series concludes at 12:15 p.m. CT on Wednesday, when Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha (5-1, 3.08 ERA) faces Royals righty Jakob Junis (5-3, 3.51) in a matinee finale at Busch Stadium. Wacha is 3-1 in five career starts against the Royals.

Sean Collins is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

St. Louis Cardinals, Jose Martinez, Luke Weaver