2019 Cardinals spring training

Cardinals infielder Randy Arozarena takes batting practice on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, during Cardinals spring training at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

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KANSAS CITY • Kansas City Royals righthander Brad Keller, who held the Cardinals to one hit over the first seven innings in a start in May, shackled them on no hits over the first six innings Wednesday night. But then it all came tumbling down in a barrage of Cardinals singles, creating a five-run seventh inning that broke open a scoreless game and sent the Cardinals on their way to a 6-0 victory. 

Marcell Ozuna lashed a 2-1 fastball past the dive of Kansas City third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert to open the seventh and Paul DeJong followed with a single to right on the next offering.

The Royals’ infield defense shifted to the right for Matt Carpenter, who bluffed a bunt. This fake induced the Royals to shift to a more normal deployment and Carpenter ultimately ined a single past Keller and into center field. Ozuna scored the game’s first run and Keller was lifted.

Yadier Molina greeted Kevin McCarthy with his first hit since July 6th, scoring DeJong.

Kolten Wong bunted and McCarthy and catcher Meibrys Viloria got tangled and neither could play the ball, which went for a hit, loading the bases.

Randy Arozarena, seeking his first big-league hit, batted with the Royals’ infield in. Arozarena slashed a grounder on which shortstop Nicky Lopez missed on a diving attempt and then the ball hit Molina in the foot.  Arozarena had that hit but Molina wasn’t automatically out because  he was behind the defender.  Carpenter scored and the bases were still loaded on a season-high six consecutive singles in an inning.

A sacrifice fly by Dexter Fowler and Tommy Edman’s forceout grounder completed the five-run inning and set up Dakota Hudson for his 11th victory.

Hudson, who had gone winless in his three previous starts, failing to get through the fifth inning, blanked the Royals on five hits for six innings before gaining relief.

After Tyler Webb sailed through the Kansas City seventh, DeJong smashed his 20th homer, a 432-foot shot to left center in the eighth. That made it 6-0 and made DeJong the first Cardinals shortstop to have multiple 20-homer seasons.

NO HITS THROUGH SIX FOR CARDS

Royals righthander Brad Keller, who held the Cardinals to one hit over the first seven innings in a start in May, shackled them on no hits over the first six innings Wednesday night. But the Cardinals' 'Dakota Hudson wasn’t far behind him and the game was scoreless after 5 1/2 innings. 

Keller walked three and there was an infield error through six. Hudson scattered five hits through five. 

HUDSON'S SINKER WORKING

Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson,  sinkderballer who has had some trouble throwing ground balls lately, threw a bunch in the first inning Wednesday night. One ricocheted off his foot to second baseman Kolten Wong. Another, with two Kansas City Royals on and two out, was a tapper over the mound which Wong fielded on the run and threw out Cheslor Cuthbert to end the inning.

Hudson then tossed his 17th ground-ball double play _ he ranked third in the league in that department _ when he got two for one against Bubba Starling in the second. Meibrys Viloria doubled to left center with two out for the Royals’ third hit. But Hudson retired Nicky Lopez on a foul fly to left fielder Marcell Ozuna.

Kansas City righthander Brad Keller, who held the Cardinals to two hits over seven innings in a victory in May, didn’t allow a hit through the first four innings Wednesday.

The Cardinals had two walks in the third but Tommy Edman grounded to short for the final out. Hudson had a 1-2-3 third and the game went scoreless to the fourth.

AROZARENA GETS FIRST START 

After sitting and watching on his first night in the majors, rookie outfielder Randy Arozarena will be in the Cardinals' starting lineup Wednesday night in the wrap-up of a two-game series with the Kansas City Royals.

Arozarena, who was hitting .368 at Class AAA Memphis, will hit ninth and play center field. Lane Thomas did that on Tuesday and was one for three with a run scored.

Manager Mike Shildt, who had seen the 24-year-old Cuban native only in spring training, said he was as excited as anyone else to see Arozarena.

“I don’t know how much hype is out there,” Shildt said. “It sounds like quite a bit, and I do understand it.

“It’s well deserved,” Shildt said. “He’s more than earned the opportunity to go out there and play today."

Arozarena came into the system in 2016 after playing nearly three seasons in the Mexican League.

“We’re not overly familiar with Randy,” said Shildt. “He’s turning himself from more of a raw player into more of a polished player and there are reports that that is continuing. He’s an aggressive player, which we like. He clearly swung the bat well at Memphis and he’s been able to be patient and get some walks.

“And it looks like he’s played a solid center field.”

Arozarena, at the request of Cardinals management, made the move from corner outfield to center last month although he didn’t play center at the end of his time at Memphis when Harrison Bader was sent down.

Veteran Dexter Fowler has played a lot of center lately but Shildt said, “Candidly, Dexter has played very well in right. (Center) is where Randy has played most recently and we’ll take a look at it.”

Righthander Dakota Hudson, who leads the staff in victories at 10, will start for the Cardinals. Hudson has been unimpressive in his past three starts, going 0-2 and giving up 19 hits and 11 runs in just 11 2/3 innings.

Matt Carpenter was to serve as the designated hitter for the second consecutive night and told Shildt that he liked the role, unlike some other regulars who feel comfortable being in the field all the time.

GALLEGOS FINDS HIMSELF AT 28

His 28th birthday was Wednesday but Cardinals righthander Giovanny Gallegos already had established himself as a force in his 28th year. In 55 innings, he had given up only 29 hits, walked 11 and struck out 76 with opponents hitting .153 against, all figures which rank at the top of the major league charts.

“He clearly has two quality pitches (fastball, slider) that he can command, which pretty much makes him equally effective against righties and lefties,” Shildt said. “He throws strikes with both.

“He’s got the fastball which has got some life to it. And then he’s got a breaking ball that has some of that beautiful late movement that when guys want to go swing at it, it kind of disappears.

“The final component to it, that we don’t take for granted but it’s a really important one, is that he’s not going to make the situation any bigger than it is.”

Shildt praised Gallegos’ competitiveness and said “he’s going to give you what he has. And what he has is pretty darned good.”

CARDINALS LINEUP

1. Dexter Fowler rf

2. Tommy Edman 3b

3. Paul Goldschmidt 1b

4. Marcell Ozuna lf

5. Paul DeJong ss

6. Matt Carpenter dh

7. Yadier Molina c

8. Kolten Wong 2b

9. Randy Arozarena cf

RH Dakota Hudson p

KANSAS CITY LINEUP 

1. Whit Merrifield 2b

2. Alex Gordon lf

3. Hunter Dozier rf

4. Jorge Soler dh

5. Cheslor Cuthbert 3b

6. Ryan O'Hearn 1b

7. Bubba Starling cf

8. Meibrys Viloria c

9. Nicky Lopez 2b

RH Brad Keller p 


Quick Hits from Ben Frederickson

Rick Hummel

@cmshhummel on Twitter

rhummel@post-dispatch.com

This article originally ran on stltoday.com.

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