Royals rookie fans 9 before leaving with leg cramp
Sunday, June 19, 2011
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Danny Duffy was off to a scintillating start until a leg cramp stopped him cold.
The Kansas City Royals' rookie left-hander, making his seventh major league appearance, struck out a career-high nine before leaving with two outs in the fourth inning Sunday due to a cramp in his calf.
Skip Schumaker hit a tiebreaking homer in the ninth, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat Kansas City 5-4.
Coming off his first career win Tuesday in Oakland, Duffy gave up six hits and two runs. He faced 18 batters but threw 90 pitches.
Duffy said he could have continued.
"It was one of those things where you err on the side of caution," Duffy said. "I probably could have pitched through it."
Kansas City manager Ned Yost said Duffy has plenty of potential but remains a work in progress.
"In terms of being a big league pitcher, he got away with a lot of pitches up," Yost said. "He needs to take that stuff and lower it in the strike zone.
"But all the makings of being a really good major league pitcher are there."
Leading off the ninth, Alcides Escobar hit his first home run on a 3-2 delivery from St. Louis reliever Fernando Salas, who threw 10 pitches in the at-bat. It was Escobar's first homer in 325 at-bats and it tied the game at 4. It marked just the second blown save in 15 attempts for Salas (4-1).
"I was trying to look for one pitch to get on base," Escobar said. "I wasn't trying to look for a homer. I hit the ball good and I said, 'That's a homer.'"
But the Cardinals trumped Escobar's shot with Schumaker's ninth-inning drive.
After leadoff hitter Dan Descalso got thrown out trying to stretch a single, Schumaker connected off Tim Collins (3-4), the fifth Royals pitcher.
St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols, a three-time NL MVP, sprained his left wrist in the sixth and left the game. He will be evaluated further on Monday, an off day for the Cardinals.
Wilson Betemit hit a chopper up the middle off St. Louis starter Jamie Garcia. Second baseman Pete Kozma backhanded the ball and made a jump-throw to first, pulling Pujols off the bag. As the slugger tried for a tag, Betemit ran into his glove hand and Pujols went down to the ground in pain.
The collision was unavoidable, Betemit said.
"I was running hard and the ball arrived at the same time I got to the base," Betemit said. "I couldn't do anything about it. He hit me on my left arm, that's why he dropped the ball. I hit him and then I saw him on the ground. That's part of the game. I couldn't do anything about it."
Pujols, hitting .279 this year, was 3 for 3 with his 17th home run. The fifth-inning shot gave St. Louis a 3-2 lead.
Lance Berkman, who had been given a rest Sunday, replaced Pujols at first.
"To be honest, I can't give you guys too much until the X-rays and an MRI tomorrow," said a smiling Pujols, whose left wrist was tightly wrapped. "I know I'm pretty sore. Am I worried? Of course. Hopefully, everything will come out negative tomorrow. When I come out of game, believe me, something is really wrong.
"Hopefully, cross our fingers and I'll be all right."
It was Schumaker's second game-ending homer, the first coming in 2008, and his first home run since April 13.
Schumaker got his first RBI as a pinch-hitter this year, driving in Andrew Brown in the sixth to put St. Louis ahead 4-3.
"I'm not sure there's a better feeling than hitting a home run walk-off," Schumaker said. "It doesn't happen too often, home runs in general, so I'll take it."
It was also Schumaker's first major league home run off a left-hander.
Cardinals reliever Miguel Batista pitched out of a jam in the seventh with two on and no outs. After getting a flyout, Batista got Jeff Francoeur to line out to Schumaker at second and Melky Cabrera was doubled off first.
Kansas City took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI double by Billy Butler, who was making his first start after pinch-hitting in the first two games of the series. Butler is the Royals' designated hitter.
The Cardinals struck for two in the first when Brown, making his second major league start, hit a bases-loaded single.
The Royals tied it in the second on Alex Gordon's two-out RBI single.
Kansas City tied it at 3 in the sixth when Escobar's squeeze bunt scored Betemit.
NOTES: Francoeur got his 10th stolen base in the third inning, the first time in his career he has reached double digits. A first-inning error by Descalso at 3B was the 47th error this season in 73 games for St. Louis. The Cardinals have made 10 errors in their last six games. ... The Royals concluded a 4-5 road trip. ... Garcia batted eighth, marking the fourth time a Cardinals pitcher hit eighth this season. Garcia has done so three times. ... After the game, in St. Louis manager Tony La Russa's office, former college basketball coach Bob Knight was watching the U.S. Open.