Kansas City holds on to edge St. Louis 2-1

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

ST. LOUIS -- Two players who were minor league teammates until late last month gave the lowly Kansas City Royals another dose of interleague success.

Mike Aviles homered to snap an eighth-inning tie and Kyle Davies worked seven sharp innings in a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

"We have a good group of veteran guys and young guys here," Aviles said. "It makes for a good environment. Right now our record doesn't show that, but things are turning around."

David DeJesus had his sixth RBI in two games for the Royals, 29-42 overall and in last place in the AL Central, but a robust 5-2 in interleague play while taking two of three from Florida and Arizona. The opener of the three-game interleague series between cross-state rivals drew a paid attendance of 43,793, the Cardinals' fourth straight sellout.

"We've played well up to this point and we just need to keep playing well," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "You also have to be a little fair with it. When a bat like [Albert] Pujols is out of the lineup, it takes a little pressure off."

Davies (3-0) allowed one run on five hits with four strikeouts and three walks, allowing only three runners to advance to scoring position. He's won three of four starts with a 1.46 ERA since being recalled from Class AAA Omaha on May 31.

"Location-wise, early in the game, wasn't very good at all," Davies said. "I got some guys to get themselves out, jam themselves a little bit. And as the game got going, it started to get a little bit better with location."

Joakim Soria worked the ninth for his 16th save to complete a five-hitter after Ron Mahay worked a perfect eighth.

Joel Pineiro also put together a strong seven-inning start for the Cardinals, allowing one run on seven hits while matching his season high for innings. He's 0-1 in his last six starts since beating the Reds with seven innings of one-hit ball April 29.

"It'll even out," Pineiro said. "As long as I'm healthy and out there pitching, helping the team win, that's all that matters."

Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen made his first appearance since coming off the disabled list Sunday, working around a fielding error and a hit batsman in a scoreless ninth. The Cardinals plan to ease Isringhausen, who has six blown saves in 17 chances, a 1-5 record and 7.58 ERA, back into the closer role.

Aviles, the Royals' minor league player of the year last year, is batting .333 with three homers and six RBIs in 12 games since his contract was purchased from Omaha on May 29. He homered into the visitor's bullpen in left field on a 1-1 pitch from Ron Villone (1-2) with one out in the eighth.

"I was just trying to get the ball into the gap and I got some good wood on it," Aviles said. "It was a pitch that was up, and I hit it well."

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