ST. LOUIS (AP) — Shelby Miller permitted just one runner to reach scoring position in the first six innings before faltering. The St. Louis hitters, meanwhile, remained stuck in a funk.
Danny Duffy worked six innings of one-hit ball and Alex Gordon homered to start a breakout three-run seventh for the Kansas City Royals in a 6-0 victory over the suddenly punchless defending National League champions on Monday night.
“We’ve got to find something,” manager Mike Matheny said after the Cardinals fell to 2-6 with one game to go in a nine-game home stand. “This isn’t working.”
Matt Holliday had two singles and a walk for the Cardinals, who have been shut out in consecutive games at home and have single-digit hit totals the last four games.
Yadier Molina, just 2 for 21 on the homestand, snapped at a few reporters and then apologized, saying, “I’m just frustrated.”
Matt Adams went on the 15-day disabled list during the weekend, but Matheny said there’s no common thread to the recent offensive woes.
“It would be nice if we could just put our finger on it and fix it,” Matheny said. “It’s a lot of different things.”
The Royals had just two singles off Miller (6-5) in a game that had been scoreless before they opened the seventh with four straight hits. Gordon’s fifth homer ended a 15-inning scoreless drought and Mike Moustakas capped the rally with a two-run double.
“It was frustrating to let them have the game like that,” Miller said. “It’s on me, for sure. Gave it all away.”
Between Holliday’s single with two outs in the first and his single leading off the seventh, the Cardinals were 0 for 17 with a walk – also by Holliday in the fourth.
Coming off an 8-0 loss to San Francisco on Sunday, the Cardinals were shut out two straight times at home for the first time since 1992 against Pittsburgh, and by six or more runs at home in two straight games since dropping a doubleheader to the Reds in 1937.
“We’ve had lots of meetings, we’ve had the conversations we needed to have,” Matheny said. “What we’re doing right now isn’t going to work and they know that. We all do.”
Duffy (3-5) struck out five and walked one, rebounding from consecutive losses in which he surrendered 10 earned runs in 10 innings.
Three relievers completed a three-hitter.
The Royals advanced one runner to second base before Gordon led off the seventh with his fifth homer, a drive over the Cardinals’ bullpen in right field.
Lorenzo Cain beat out an infield hit unsuccessfully challenged by the Cardinals and Miller threw his second wild pitch of the inning after a visit from pitching coach Derek Lilliquist, setting up Moustakas’ double.
Kansas City added three in the eighth. Cardinals rookie center fielder Randal Grichuk struck out three times and whiffed fielding the ball on the RBI single by Salvador Perez, allowing a second run to score.
NOTES: Jaime Garcia (1-0, 4.12) faces James Shields (6-3, 3.36) Tuesday before the four-game series resumes with two in Kansas City. … Matt Carpenter was 0 for 4 to end a 14-game hitting streak during which he batted .400 (24 for 60). … Holliday has reached safely in all 29 home games. … The Cardinals anticipate pitcher Lance Lynn, who underwent medical tests after tweaking his right knee Sunday, will make his next start. … Cardinals pitching prospect Marco Gonzales, a first-round pick last year, and teammates from Double-A Springfield attended the game on a day off.