Lopez’s big hit help averts Royal collapse

After allowing a 5-1 lead to evaporate in the eighth inning, Kansas City rebounded following a 2-hour rain delay to score once in the ninth and defeat St. Louis, 6-5. The victory also averted what would have been a three-game Cardinal sweep.

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August 9, 2021 - 8:32 AM

Kansas City Royals Nicky Lopez Photo by John Sleezer / Kansas City Star / TNS

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Nicky Lopez hit a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning after a long rain delay and the Kansas City Royals averted a three-game sweep, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-5 on Sunday.

Dylan Carlson homered for St. Louis, which has lost four of six.

It was 5-all when Hanser Alberto began the Royals ninth with a single off closer Alex Reyes (5-5). Jarrod Dyson put down a bunt that first baseman Paul Goldschmidt threw wildly trying for a forceout, leaving runners at second and third before play was stopped for 2 hours, 10 minutes.

When the game resumed, Lopez delivered a one-out hit to right to break the tie. He fouled off an attempted safety squeeze bunt on the first pitch before battling back for the two-strike hit — his third game-winning hit of the season.

“He just shortened up,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said. “The ball jumps off his bat when he doesn’t try to do too much.”

Lopez was, “a little disappointed,” that he couldn’t get the bunt down.

“But it all worked out,” he said.

He was also pleased with the way his team rallied after giving up a 5-1 lead.

“These are one of those wins that you look back and you’re like, ”OK, let’s take note of this because this is the type of team that we are,” Lopez said. “We’re a resilient bunch. The future is bright.”

Scott Barlow (4-3) got two outs for the win. Richard Lovelady recorded his first save with a perfect ninth.

St. Louis made it 5-all with a three-run rally in the eighth. Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado capped the comeback with RBI singles.

Jon Lester, in his second start for the Cardinals since coming over in a trade with Washington, gave up five runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings. He surrendered five runs in the first inning of his initial start against Atlanta on Tuesday.

“Overall, I think he’s shown that he’s more than capable of helping us,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said of Lester.

Michael A. Taylor hit an RBI single in the Royals fourth and Salvador Perez pushed the lead to 3-1 with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.

Ryan O’Hearn’s pinch-hit single in the sixth put the Royals up 5-1.

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