KANSAS CITY – The Cardinals broke loose against Royals right-hander Brad Keller and turned a no-hit bid into another shutout win at Kauffman Stadium.
Right-hander Dakota Hudson matched Keller on the scoreboard and turned in perhaps his best start, allowing five hits and two walks to go with four strikeouts over six innings.
Hudson (11-6) suspected the Cardinals would get to Keller, who also had been strong against them in a May start at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals didn’t give him any support until Ozuna led off the seventh with a sharp single to left -- the first of six straight singles for the team. Carpenter’s RBI single up the middle broke a scoreless tie, and the Cardinals scored five runs in the seventh.
“Ozuna got the first hit and drew blood a little bit, and I think everybody in our lineup sensed it,” Hudson said. “I just knew that if I kept throwing as many innings as possible, and putting up as many zeroes as possible, that eventually our hitters would come through. And they did.”
Having players like Hudson and Carpenter firing on more cylinders is just what the Cardinals need in the final six weeks of the season to stay in first place in the National League Central. St. Louis leads the Cubs by one percentage point after Chicago fell 11-1 to Philadelphia.
“We’ve gone on streaks before, but it’s all about keeping it going as long as possible and cutting out the bad times,” Hudson said. “I feel like we’re getting started on playing good baseball.”
Carpenter, who came in slashing .218/.323/.370 amid injuries, said he considered bunting runners into scoring position after Ozuna and Paul DeJong started the seventh inning with hits. After the count shifted in his favor and he saw a hole up the middle, Carpenter drove the ball up the middle, collecting his 32nd RBI.
“He got behind, and I changed my mind,” Carpenter said.
Rookie outfielder Randy Arozarena went 2-for-4 with an RBI in his Major League debut. His bases-loaded infield single in the seventh glanced off the glove of shortstop Nicky Lopez -- who was playing in -- and hit Yadier Molina. Because the ball passed the defender first, Molina was immune from being called out.
Arozarena, a 24-year-old from Cuba, said he’ll keep the ball in a spot in his living room.
Arozarena also looked like he belonged when he made a nice play in center field, a line drive hit by Cheslor Cuthbert that was measured at 107 mph by Statcast. It also changed directions a few times on Arozarena, who did a little dance to collect himself before collecting the ball.
DeJong hit his 20th home run, and the Cardinals improved to 39-19 at Kauffman Stadium since Interleague Play began in 1997.