It was ugly and it was exasperating. But, in the end, at least it turned out to be a win.
The Cardinals blew a six-run lead, wasted numerous scoring opportunities and all but threw out the welcome matt for Kansas City to take over with some seriously shoddy bullpen work. But the Royals bullpen gave back what St. Louis' frittered away.
In a game tied at seven in the top of the 10th, Tyler Greene walked and Albert Pujols reached on an error. Gerald Laird, filling in for clean-up hitter Matt Holliday, tried to bunt the runners over to second and third. But, as he tried to retreat from an inside pitch, Laird was struck on the hand to load the bases. Lance Berkman got a pitch right down the middle, but popped it up to deep second base. So Colby Rasmus, who had walked four times previously in the game, came to the dish with a chance to put the Birds ahead with one swing of the bat.
Instead, he put them up with NO swings of the bat, drawing a bases loaded walk to make the game 8-7. Yadier Molina then came up and drew a walk of his own to give St. Louis a two-run lead.
Fernando Salas came into the game for a chance at a save. And the first pitch he threw was tattooed for a double. To make a long story short, he narrowly missed giving up what would have been a game losing homer. But the ballpark held the ball and Salas held the Royals to sneak out of town with a 9-8 win and a 2 1/2 game lead over the Reds who lost to Cleveland.
Jaime Garcia pitched five pretty good innings but got in some trouble in the sixth and couldn't get an out. He ended up allowing three runs on seven hits through five frames. What looked to be a sure victory turned out to be a no decision.
Instead, Jason Motte got the win to improve to 2-1 on the season.
Five Cardinals had two or more hits, Yadier Molina, Jon Jay, Allen Craig, Albert Pujols and Daniel Descalso. But the offensive outburst almost wasn't enough. Miguel Batista gave up two runs in a third of an inning pitched. Then Brian Tallet and Eduardo Sanchez gave up single runs to allow Kansas City to catch up.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Molina had four hits in five at bats and scored three runs while driving in a pair.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Rasmus' bases loaded walk.
Lowlight: I think the blowing of a six-run lead would qualify for this dubious distinction.