Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Matt Carpenter likes hitting in the western side of the state.
Carpenter hit a three-run homer in St. Louis' six-run fourth inning, and the Cardinals beat the Kansas City Royals 11-3 on Monday night for their third consecutive victory.
In 13 games at Kauffman Stadium, Carpenter is hitting .451 with four home runs and 14 RBIs. He led off the game with a double.
"I've always thought it's a good place to hit, but that's kind of the funny thing about baseball, when you get off to a good start, your confidence is high and that's the case here," Carpenter said.
Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong also connected for the Cardinals, who returned to .500 at 56-56. Carlos Martinez (8-9) pitched eight innings of two-run ball for just his second win in his last nine starts.
"I didn't even know we were back at .500," said Dexter Fowler, who tripled, walked and scored two runs in his first game back off the disabled list. "At the end of the day, you look at it at the end of the season."
St. Louis also got some help from Kansas City during its outburst in the fourth. Ian Kennedy (4-8) walked No. 9 hitter Greg Garcia on five pitches with the bases loaded, and shortstop Alcides Escobar and catcher Drew Butera each committed an error.
Butera made an errant throw while trying to pick off Fowler at third, allowing the speedy center fielder to score.
Five pitches later Carpenter hit a drive to right with Wong and Garcia aboard.
"The whole time I was falling behind guys and the home run just kind of capped it off as a bad pitch," Kennedy said. "You know it's going to be like one of those back-foot sliders, one that is going to bounce. Just maybe not a good pitch to him."
Wong added a two-run shot in the eighth, and DeJong belted his own two-run homer in the ninth.
Kennedy was charged with seven runs, six earned, and six hits in six innings. He is winless in 14 consecutive starts at Kauffman since beating the Minnesota Twins on Aug. 20, 2016.
"He had a bad inning," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "In the fourth inning, they unloaded on him."
Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Brandon Moss homered for Kansas City, which has dropped six of eight. Moustakas has 32 home runs, four shy of the Royals' single-season record of 36 set by Steve Balboni in 1985.
Cardinals: Fowler missed a dozen games with a strained left forearm. He started the game hitting sixth for the first time in his career. He had batted no lower than third this season.
Royals: C Salvador Perez (right intercostal strain) said there is no timetable on when he could play again. "We'll wait 10 days and see where we are," Perez said. He said before going on the disabled list he felt a "little pinch" in his side. He received a cortisone ejection Sunday.
The Cardinals optioned struggling outfielder Stephen Piscotty to Triple-A Memphis. After hitting .305 as a rookie in 2015 and belting 22 home runs last season, Piscotty is batting .232 with six homers in 75 games this year.
"I still see some things that indicate that he's getting close, so hopefully he'll be able to get it put together quick and we'll see him back here," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha is 5-1 with a 1.90 ERA in his past seven starts.
Royals: LHP Jason Vargas registered a 7.23 ERA in four July starts after having a 2.22 ERA on June 30.