for this game

Francis, Royals shut out Cardinals

May 21, 2011 - 3:36 AM Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) - Jeff Francis worked into the eighth inning for his first win on an American League team, leading the Kansas City Royals to a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener of a three-game series.

Francis (1-5) struck out six batters in 7 2/3 innings, giving up six hits and two walks to lead the Royals to their first shutout over the Cardinals in interleague play.

Alcides Escobar hit an RBI single and Brayan Pena and Melky Cabrera both had sacrifice flies in a three-run seventh inning for Kansas City, which has won two in a row on the heels of a five-game slide.

Chris Carpenter (1-5) was yanked during Kansas City's rally in the seventh and took the loss in 6 1/3 innings. He was charged with all three runs on nine hits and struck out five without a walk.

The Cardinals got Matt Holliday back from his quad injury -- he went 1-for-3 -- but were without Lance Berkman (wrist) again. They had a four-game winning streak snapped after sweeping the Phillies and Astros in brief sets this week.

Both starters sparkled.

Francis, who pitched his first six MLB seasons in the National League with the Colorado Rockies, threw 60 of his 94 pitches for strikes and worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning when he got Tyler Greene to ground into a double play.

He never let another runner past second base and pitched out of a first-and- second situation in the sixth when he got another double play. He was pulled for Aaron Crow with a runner and first base and two outs in the eighth.

"Both pitchers tonight were really on their game," said Royals manager Ned Yost. "Carpenter was carving it up -- and Francis was, too. Jeff was pitch for pitch with him."

Carpenter, still struggling to return to his former Cy Young form, retired the first seven batters he faced and wasn't really ever in trouble until the Royals rallied in the seventh.

"He was sharp. He pitched very well and if we hadn't messed up a couple of situations on offense we could have given him a lead," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "It could have been a different game, but we just couldn't break through."

Billy Butler singled and Wilson Betemit doubled leading off the seventh inning, but Carpenter wasn't pulled until after Pena's sac fly and Escobar's single made it 2-0.

"Wilson's big double opened the door for us to score some runs," Yost said of the four-run rally.

Joakim Soria pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn his seventh save of the season for Kansas City.

Game Notes

The Royals won the series last year, 2-1, but the Cardinals had won seven of the previous eight games between them...Kansas City improved to 2-3 on a seven-game homestand...Francis is 5-1 lifetime against St. Louis...The Cardinals started a nine-game road trip...Carpenter, who pitched his first six seasons in the AL with Toronto, fell to 5-6 against the Royals.