KANSAS CITY • Righthander Michael Wacha became the first seven-game winner in the National League Sunday, at the same time lowering his earned run average to 1.87.
Wacha (7-0), allowing only an unearned run and five singles over seven innings, stopped the Kansas City Royals 6-1 as the Cardinals salvaged the final game of a three-game interleague series.
"He had his A-plus stuff today," said first baseman Matt Adams, whose two doubles played a role in a couple of two-run innings.
Manager Mike Matheny said, "He was terrific. We just continue to watch him improve. He threw a 3-1 breaking ball today that he didn't have a year ago. Just the confidence he has in all his pitches is fun to watch."
Matt Carpenter's two-run homer off Yordano Ventura stretched a 2-1 lead into a three-run edge in the sixth. Yadier Molina's two-run bloop single in the eighth scored Jhonny Peralta and Adams, who had singled and doubled, respectively, with two out.
The Cardinals' win snapped a losing streak at three games and Kansas City's winning streak at five games. Both have the best records in their respective leagues, the Cardinals at 28-16 in the National League and the Royals 28-15 in the American League.
CARPENTER'S HR MAKES IT 4-1
After Kansas City righthander Yordano Ventura had retired 14 batters in succession, the Cardinals' Kolten Wong blooped a single in front of right fielder Paulo Orlando to open the sixth inning and Matt Carpenter ripped his eighth homer to right to make the score 4-1 Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.
Carpenter had only eight homers all last season with his career high 11 in 2013. This homer was his 500th career hit and the run scored is 300th.
Cardinals starter Michael Wacha got into a mess with two out in the Kansas City sixth when Lorenzo Cain singled past the glove of shortstop Pete Kozma and Eric Hosmer singled to left. Kendrys Morales walked to fill the bases and Wacha fell behind Alex Gordon at 2-0 before he got Gordon to fly to right.
CARDS' FIRST OUTFIELD ERROR HURTS THEM
The Cardinals hadn't committed an outfield error until the fifth inning Sunday when their best defender, Peter Bourjos, muffed a one-out liner by Alex Gordon. Gordon reached second on the play and scored the first Kansas City run on Salvador Perez's single, extending his hitting streak to 10 games.
The Cardinals led 2-1 behind Michael Wacha heading into the sixth.
WACHA DOUBLES HIS PLEASURE
Cardinals righthander Michael Wacha, who entered Sunday's game having won six straight games but having induced only one double-play grounder, threw two double-play balls in the first four innings as he nursed a 2-0 lead over the Kansas City Royals.
Wacha permitted just two singles over the first four innings, with the fourth wrapped up on Eric Hosmer's double-play bouncer to second baseman Kolten Wong.
CARDS STRIKE FOR TWO IN FIRST
The Cardinals took advantage of starter Yordano Ventura's wildness in the first inning to score two runs but missed out on a bigger inning because of a great play by Royals catcher Salvador Perez.
Kolten Wong and Matt Carpenter both walked before Jhonny Peralta singled home Wong, sending Carpenter to third. Matt Adams doubled over the head of center fielder Lorenzo Cain as Carpenter scored. Third-base coach Jose Oquendo properly held the slow-running Peralta at third base with no one out.
Peralta took just a couple of steps off the bag as Perez made a nifty pickup on what would have a wild pitch and Perez snapped a throw to third. Peralta, by this time, could only go home and he was run down for the first out.
Yadier Molina then grounded out and Randal Grichuk popped up.
Cardinals righthander Michael Wacha, seeking his seventh straight win, got help from a double play in the second. The play got off to a bad start as shortstop Kozma fumbled Perez's grounder up the middle. But Kozma recovered to flip to second baseman Wong, who made a barehand reception and then threw to first where Adams plucked a one-hop throw out of the dirt.
HOLLIDAY, HEYWARD OUT OF LINEUP
There is no guarantee there won't be a rain delay or two but it appears there will be baseball Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
The Cardinals, trying to salvage one game of the interleague series, will send unbeaten Michael Wacha (6-0) against flame-throwing Kansas City righthander Yordano Ventura (3-3).
The Cardinals' regular lineup will have a couple of omissions. Left fielder Matt Holliday, drilled in the left forearm by an Edinson Volquez pitch on Saturday night, was a late scratch. Right fielder Jason Heyward, who was out of Saturday's game with tightness in his left hip, also was out of the lineup.
Pete Kozma got the start at shortstop, with Jhonny Peralta moving to the designated hitter role and Matt Reynolds going to left field.
Manager Mike Matheny said he wanted to give Heyward another day of rest and also was concerned about some potential wet conditions in the outfield. He said he did not foresee Heyward being out any length of time.
Even though showers will be in the area all day, the game began on time at 1:10 p.m.
1. Wong 2b
2. Carpenter 3b
3. Peralta dh
4. Adams 1b
5. Molina c
6. Grichuk rf
7. Reynolds lf
8. Bourjos cf
9. Kozma ss
KANSAS CITY LINEUP
1. Escobar ss
2. Moustakas 3b
3. Cain cf
4. Hosmer 1b
5. K. Morales dh
6. Gordon lf
7. Perez c
8. Infante 2b
9. Orlando rf