ST. LOUIS -- Josh Staumont and Mike Mayers came within six outs of the first combined perfect game in major league history before Nolan Arenado lined a leadoff single in the eighth inning of the Kansas City Royals’ 7-0 win Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“You’re definitely aware of it,” Mayers said of a perfect game. “I tried to keep it business as usual. The goal was to throw up as many zeros as you possibly can and that’s the mindset I stayed in.”
Staumont,, a 29-year-old right-hander, served as the opener in a planned bullpen game for the Royals. He made his first major league start in his 167th appearance and struck out two in a 1-2-3 inning, throwing 14 pitches.
“That was one of the most exciting moments for me of the year,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “For him to set the tone like that was unbelievable.”
Mayers, a 31-year-old left-hander who pitched for the Cardinals from 2016-19, made his third appearance for the Royals this season after eight starts at Triple-A Omaha. He retired 18 consecutive batters before Arenado lined a 1-0 slider to left on his 72nd pitch.
“He did a great job today,” Arenado said. “We just couldn’t get anything going.”
Willson Contreras followed with a single to center that stopped an 0-for-29 slide.
“I can’t say what I was thinking there,” Mayers said with a chuckle. “I made two very bad pitches in that inning and they’re good hitters. They made me pay for them.”
Taylor Clarke relieved and retired Brendan Donovan, Paul DeJong and Alex Burleson in order. Amir Garrett pitched a perfect ninth to finish a two-hitter and Kansas City’s second shutout this year.
St. Louis was shut out for the sixth time and has scored 13 runs in its last six games.
“It was just hard to get anything going offensively,” St. Louis manager Oli Marmol said. “Today was a tough one.”
There have been 23 perfect games, the last Aug. 15 2012, by Seattle’s Félix Hernández against Tampa Bay. All perfect games have been complete games.
Kansas City had not shut out the Cardinals since May 22, 2015, and had not blanked them in St. Louis since June 2, 2014.
In the opener of a two-game series, the Royals tied their season high with 16 hits and stranded 14 runners, one shy of their high.
Nicky Lopez matched his career high with four hits, and Nick Pratto and Vinnie Pasquantino had three each. Mike Massey hit a two-run homer and Bobby Witt Jr. added a solo homer.
Adam Wainwright (2-1) allowed three runs and nine hits in five innings for the Cardinals, playing their 18th game in a stretch of 19 days in a row. The Cardinals and the Royals have back-to-back days off Wednesday and Thursday.
“The stuff’s OK. The location’s OK,” Wainwright said. “Nothing great. We’re in one of those funks right now. Baseball is a crazy game like that. I’m trying to take a big picture view. The little moments, I’m not winning right now.”
Pasquantino hit an RBI double in the third.
“I’m feeling solid and ready to go tomorrow,” Pasquantino said. “It was kind of a weird game because it was tougher to score runs early and then we were able to break it opener later.”
MJ Melendez hit a run-scoring triple in the fifth and scored on Freddy Fermin’s bunt down the first-base line for a 3-0 lead.
Pasquantino had an RBI single off Steven Matz, who turned 32 on Monday, in the eighth, and Witt and Massey homered in the ninth against Drew VerHagen.
Witt snapped an 0-for-12 skid with the home run. He became the second Royal to hit 30 career homers before turning age 23.
Notes: Cardinals CF Lars Nootbaar left after Pratto doubled leading off the third inning, appearing to pull up near the wall. Nootbaar has slammed into the wall catching a Massey drive in the second. The Cardinals said Nootbaar had back spasms. … Royals RHP Brad Keller (right shoulder impingement syndrome) is progressing well after throwing a recent bullpen. … Cardinals OF Dylan Carlson (left ankle sprain) has been taking swings from the right side. On Monday, he took swings left-handed. Once he is comfortable, he will have short rehab stint in the minors. … RHP Zack Greinke (1-5, 4.55) starts tonight for the Royals and RHP Miles Mikolas (3-1, 4.23) for the Cardinals. Greinke is 13-7 with a 3.48 ERA against St. Louis. Mikolas pitched a four-hit shutout in his only game against the Royals on May 21, 2018.