Cardinals outlast Royals to take series with wacky win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Somebody's going to see Colby Rasmus had only one at-bat in St. Louis' 9-8 victory over Kansas City and wonder how long he was in the game.

"I'll tell them about 4 hours and 30 minutes worth," deadpanned the weary center fielder.

St. Louis drew 13 walks in the 4 hour, 9 minute affair and Rasmus had five, each one off a different pitcher. In the 10th inning of the wacky afternoon affair with the bases loaded in a 7-7 tie, Tim Collins threw him four straight bad ones. That forced in the go-ahead run as the Cardinals took the always-lively interleague series between state rivals two games to one.

"A couple of (at-bats) they didn't give me nothing, really," Rasmus said. "And a couple of times I battled off some tough pitches. The threw me some good pitches and I battled them to a walk."

Yadier Molina had a double, two singles and a two-run triple for the Cardinals, who have won six of seven and opened a 2 1/2-game lead in the NL Central.

"A win is a win, no matter how we win," said Molina. "We'll take it."

While the Cardinals were drawing 13 walks, the Royals were getting only one, which led to arguments with home plate umpire Angel Campos and the ejection of Royals manager Ned Yost and catcher Matt Treanor in the seventh inning.

"You've got a young umpire back there and out of respect we try not to say too much to him from the bench," said Yost. "The zone was tight and Matt Treanor did a great job there. Nobody knew they were arguing until he turned around and he was out of the game."

The Cardinals lost backup catcher Gerald Laird when he was hit by a pitch from Louis Coleman (0-1) in the 10th inning and broke the top of the index finger on his right hand.

"There was no getting out of the way of it," said Laird, who had already had X-rays taken. "The doctor said it was broken. Hopefully, it heals pretty quick."

With the game tied 7-all, Tyler Green walked leading off the 10th and went to second when Mike Aviles made a poor throw to first on Albert Pujols' grounder for Kansas City's second error. Coleman, who started the inning, then hit Laird, loading the bases with no outs and bringing Collins out of the bullpen.

Collins walked Rasmus on four pitches and then with one out walked Molina, giving him his third RBI.

Yost was tight-lipped when asked why his pitchers had so much trouble finding the strike zone.

"Timmy Collins had command issues. I can say that," he said.

The Royals got a run in the bottom of the 10th on Brayan Pena's RBI double off Fernando Salas, who worked the 10th for his seventh save in seven opportunities. The winner was Jason Motte (2-1), who pitched one inning.

Down 7-1 after five, the Royals fought back with homers by Alex Gordon, Wilson Betemit and Jeff Francoeur and finally tied it at 7 on Betemit's RBI single in the seventh.

Gordon homered off Brian Tallet leading off the seventh and Betemit drove in Francoeur, who had been hit by Eduardo Sanchez's pitch and stolen second.

Pujols was 2 for 6 with two singles and has reached safely in all 33 interleague games he's played against Kansas City. But his career-long home run drought stretched to 103 at-bats.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said the win was tempered by Laird's injury.

"You never really have a completely happy day at the ballpark," he said. "Great win like this, but to lose him, a key part of the squad, there's no celebrating."

Miguel Batista relieved starter Jaime Garcia in the sixth after Francoeur's leadoff home run in the sixth made it 7-3. Batista gave up a double to Butler and a two-run homer to Betemit that sliced the lead to 7-5.

Molina doubled and scored in the third and singled in the seventh and ninth.

After going errorless in the first three frames, the Royals had tied their team record of 106 consecutive innings without an error, rookie first baseman Eric Hosmer's wild throw to third allowed Molina to score after his two-run triple.

Gordon doubled home a run for Kansas City in the third. In the fifth, Aviles was credited with an RBI single when Mitch Maier scored after second baseman Green lost his high popup in the sun, making it 7-2.

Butler greeted reliever Batista with a double and Betemit brought the Royals to 7-5 with his second home run.

Game notes
A wide area of Eastern Kansas and Western Missouri, including Kansas City, was under a tornado watch when the game began. ... When Aviles doubled in the first inning, it was just the second time in their last 29 hits the Royals had gone for extra bases. ... The team record of 106 consecutive innings without an error was set from May 30-June 13, 1997. ... The day before, the Royals had tied their record with 11 straight games without an error.