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Archive for Sunday, June 19, 2011

Escobar’s hot bat not enough for K.C. in 5-4 loss to Cards

St. Louis shortstop Ryan Theriot, left, is tagged out by Kansas City catcher Matt Treanor. Nonetheless, the Cardinals defeated the Royals, 5-4, on Saturday in St. Louis.

St. Louis shortstop Ryan Theriot, left, is tagged out by Kansas City catcher Matt Treanor. Nonetheless, the Cardinals defeated the Royals, 5-4, on Saturday in St. Louis.

June 19, 2011

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— Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar is on a tear.

Escobar continued his torrid pace Saturday with two hits, but it wasn’t enough for the Royals in a 5-4 loss at St. Louis.

Known for his defensive skills, Escobar has 16 hits in his last 29 at-bats. Escobar has seven multi-hit games in eight contests during the current road trip that ends today.

“He’s pushed his average up at least 50 points since we left Kansas City,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He’s swinging the bat real well and making spectacular plays defensively.”

Escobar says the key to his recent success is patience.

“I feel like I’m more comfortable around home plate right now,” he said. “I’m trying to hit the ball to the other side and that’s what’s working.”

Escobar tripled in a pair of runs in the second to give the Royals a 2-1 lead. He singled and stole a base in the fourth.

St. Louis outfielder Matt Holliday hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth that helped the Cardinals snap a season-high seven-game skid with the victory.

Holliday and three others starters — Ryan Theriot, Skip Schumaker and Yadier Molina — wore their socks up near the knees in an effort to shake the bad luck. Holliday even changed uniform pants, wearing a tighter pair belonging to special assistant Red Schoendienst, a Hall of Famer.

Now, Holliday is ready to move forward with the new look.

“You can’t change after a win,” he said.

Holliday drilled an 0-1 pitch from reliever Greg Holland to erase a 4-3 deficit. Holliday is 5-for-9 with two homers and four RBIs since coming back from a quadriceps injury June 16.

“I thought timing might be an issue,” he said. “But I saw the ball pretty well.”

Holliday homered in his first at-bat in his return to the lineup Thursday. The home run Saturday, his eighth of the season, went 422 feet to dead center.

Kansas City, which won the first game of the series, has lost three of four.

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