Lopez key hit in 9th after long rain delay, KC tops Cards


ST. LOUIS (AP) — Nicky Lopez hit a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning after a long rain delay and the Kansas City Royals averted a three-game sweep, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-5 on Sunday.

Dylan Carlson homered for St. Louis, which has lost four of six.

It was 5-all when Hanser Alberto began the Royals ninth with a single off closer Alex Reyes (5-5). Jarrod Dyson put down a bunt that first baseman Paul Goldschmidt threw wildly trying for a forceout, leaving runners at second and third before play was stopped for 2 hours, 10 minutes.

When the game resumed, Lopez delivered a one-out hit to right to break the tie. He fouled off an attempted safety squeeze bunt on the first pitch before battling back for the two-strike hit — his third game-winning hit of the season.

“He just shortened up,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said. “The ball jumps off his bat when he doesn’t try to do too much.”

Lopez was, “a little disappointed,” that he couldn’t get the bunt down.

“But it all worked out,” he said.

He was also pleased with the way his team rallied after giving up a 5-1 lead.

“These are one of those wins that you look back and you’re like, ”OK, let’s take note of this because this is the type of team that we are,” Lopez said. “We’re a resilient bunch. The future is bright.”

Scott Barlow (4-3) got two outs for the win. Richard Lovelady recorded his first save with a perfect ninth.

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St. Louis made it 5-all with a three-run rally in the eighth. Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado capped the comeback with RBI singles.

Jon Lester, in his second start for the Cardinals since coming over in a trade with Washington, gave up five runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings. He surrendered five runs in the first inning of his initial start against Atlanta on Tuesday.

“Overall, I think he’s shown that he’s more than capable of helping us,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said of Lester.

Michael A. Taylor hit an RBI single in the Royals fourth and Salvador Perez pushed the lead to 3-1 with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.

Ryan O’Hearn’s pinch-hit single in the sixth put the Royals up 5-1.

Kansas City starter Kris Bubic allowed one run on four hits over 4 2/3 innings.

Perez was taken out of the game after the delay as a pre-cautionary measure, according to Matheny.

“He’s been under the weather,” Matheny said. “The sun and everything just got to him. He was zapped.”

Perez played on Saturday after sitting out Friday’s contest with flu-like symptoms that were not COVID-19 related.


Kansas City INFs Whit Merrifield and Carlos Santana are among five players who have played in each of their team’s games this season. Toronto’s Bo Bichette and Marcus Semien and Atlanta’s Dansby Swanson round out the list.


Royals: OF Andrew Benintendi did not start for the fifth successive game due to a shoulder injury suffered Tuesday in Chicago. He struck out as a pinch-hitter. Manager Mike Matheny indicted that Benintendi should be available for the series with the Yankees beginning on Tuesday.

Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty is expected to return to the starting rotation either Thursday or Friday. Flaherty has been out since June 1 with a left oblique strain. … C Yadier Molina was given the day off after a night game. Andrew Knizner started in place of the nine-time Gold Glove winner.


Royals: RHP Carlos Hernandez (3-1, 4.58) will face New York Yankees RHP Jameson Taillon (7-4, 4.04) in the first of a three-game set on Monday in Kansas City. Hernandez is 2-1 with a 4.24 ERA in nine home appearances.

Cardinals: LHP J.A. Happ (5-6, 6.62) will take on Pittsburgh LHP Steven Brault (0-0, 2.25) in the first of a three-game set on Tuesday in Pittsburgh. Happ was acquired from Minnesota at the trade deadline for RHP John Gant and LHP Evan Sisk. He gave up two runs on five hits over five innings against Atlanta in his Cardinals debut on Wednesday.

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