KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The St. Louis Cardinals were a .500 team after a loss on July 25, but since then they’ve been the hottest team in the National League.
Yadier Molina broke a tie with a two-run single in the seventh inning, Tyson Ross won his St. Louis debut and the Cardinals defeated the Kansas City Royals 8-2 on Sunday to win their fifth straight, matching a season high.
The Cardinals moved eight games above .500, equaling their season high set on June 11, and are a National League-best 12-4 since July 27. Manager Mike Matheny was fired on July 14 in an attempt to jump-start the disappointing team.
Molina’s bases-loaded single in the seventh scored Harrison Bader and Patrick Wisdom, who had two hits, drove in a run and scored two in his major league debut. Wisdom’s RBI single had tied it at 2-2.
“We feel pretty good about ourselves right now,” Molina said. “We are getting hot at the right time.”
The Cardinals concluded a three-city trip with a 7-2 record.
“It was a good game, a good road trip and a good series,” Cardinals interim manager Mike Shildt said.
Ross, who last pitched on Aug. 3 for San Diego, was an emergency starter, replacing Luke Weaver, who was scratched after cutting his right index finger on the aluminum foil cover of his clubhouse meal on Saturday night.
Ross (7-9), who made 22 starts with the Padres before the Cardinals claimed him on waivers last week, allowed two runs on four hits and two walks in six innings.
“I felt good and was ready to go,” Ross said. “I was happy to get out there and pitch. After the first inning, I was able to rein it in and get into the strike zone, and keep us in the ballgame.”
Paul DeJong hit a two-run homer in a three-run ninth to cap the scoring.
Jason Hammel (2-12) entered in the seventh and retired none of the four batters he faced. He was charged with three runs.
“I set the tone for the rest of the game right there, coming in and not even getting an out,” Hammel said. “I’m embarrassed.”