Game Report: Cardinals 11, Royals 3

Being a .500 team might never have looked as good to the Cardinals as it did Monday night.

In their seventh attempt to get back to that plateau for the first time since June 2, the Cardinals finally made it, getting home runs from Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong and Paul DeJong to beat the Royals in Kansas City.

The 11 runs, following a 13-run outburst on Sunday in Cincinnati, marked the first time since April 2016 the Cardinals scored in double digits in two consecutive games. They did it in three consecutive games last season.

Carlos Martinez finally threw a scoreless first inning en route to earning only his second win since June 16.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals broke the game open with six runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by Carpenter’s three-run homer. It was his first homer since June 24, snapping a streak of 151 consecutive plate appearances without a homer. The blast was his 15th of the season, temporarily tying him for the team lead until DeJong hit his 16th of the year, a two-run shot in the ninth … Wong had a season-high four RBI, including a two-run homer in the eighth, just his second of the season and first since April 17, a span of 224 plate appearances. Wong’s other RBIs came on a sacrifice fly and a fielding error on a force attempt … Dexter Fowler, activated from the DL before the game, hit sixth and had a triple in four at-bats.

On the mound:
Martinez had given up at least one run in the first inning in each of his last six starts but worked a 1-2-3 first against the Royals. He allowed just two runs over eight innings, both coming on solo homers. He did not walk a batter and struck out seven … Sam Tuivailala pitched the ninth and allowed a third solo homer, this one by former Cardinal Brandon Moss.

Key stat: Carpenter’s homer was his fourth in 13 games in Kansas City, and his three RBIs increased his career total in Kauffman Stadium to 14. His career batting average in the stadium is .450 (23-of-51). The only stadiums where he has hit more homers are all division opponents – six in Milwaukee and five each in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. He also has homered four times in Anaheim.

Worth noting: To make room for Fowler, the Cardinals optioned Stephen Piscotty to Memphis. Piscotty was just 3-of-17 on the road trip since coming off the disabled list because of a groin injury. He was hitting just .232 for the season with six homers and 31 RBIs.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals and Royals play again Tuesday night in Kansas City with Michael Wacha pitching against Jason Vargas.