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Game 51: Cardinals 4, Royals 1

The Cardinals swept the second game of a two-game set with the Kansas City Royals, improving their record to 34-17, one of the best starts in the club's storied history.

The gold standard for St. Louis teams at the 51 game mark is the 1944 World Series championship club that ended up with a 105-49 record. That team was 35-16 at this point of the season and enjoyed a seven-game lead over the next best National League competitor.

Unfortunately for the current edition of the Redbirds, the Cincinnati Reds have kept pace.

Rookie starting pitcher Tyler Lyons was brilliant in his second major league start with two hits and one run in seven innings of work to gain the win. Kansas City had great difficulty hitting anything squarely with several week grounders on the infield. He struck out five and walked one, retiring 17 Royals in a row at one point.

The Cardinals provided three home runs -- a two-run shot by Carlos Beltran in the first and solo blasts back-to-back by Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday in the sixth for some insurance.

Carpenter, Beltran and Holliday each collected two hits on a night when the Redbirds rested starters Yadier Molina and Pete Kozma.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Lyons improved to 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA for his brief MLB career.

Cardinals Play of the Game: Beltran's first inning homer that put the Cardinals ahead to stay.

Lowlight: The bottom three hitters in the order were hitless in 10 at bats. Ninth place hitter Daniel Descalso was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

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