ST. LOUIS -- Miles Mikolas pitched eight shutout innings, Nolan Arenado hit an RBI double and Nolan Gorman drove in a run with a sacrifice fly Tuesday night as the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Kansas City Royals 2-1 to split the two-game set between the I-70 rivals.
Mikolas (4-1) matched a career high with 10 strikeouts and allowed three hits in working a season-high eight innings. The strikeout total matched the 34-year-old right-hander’s effort against Milwaukee in 2019.
“It’s one of the best feelings in sports, to show up when your team needs you,” Mikolas said. “Every game, there’s someone who you kind of got to lean on. If you get to be that guy, it makes you feel good.”
Mikolas threw 102 pitches. He said he did not lobby to go out for the ninth inning.
“I got a little blister on my finger from a slider I threw there near the end,” Mikolas said. “It’s not going to be a problem, but you don’t want to force those things.”
St. Louis manager Oli Marmol was impressed with Mikolas’ showing.
“We needed him to go. It was a phenomenal start,” Marmol said. “We knew we needed this game.”
The Cardinals needed a defensive gem in the fourth inning to keep the game scoreless. With two outs and MJ Melendez on second, Michael Massey singled to right. Brendan Donovan threw a strike to the plate and Willson Contreras applied the tag to Melendez.
“Two outs, Massey squared that ball up and it took a good one hop to the right fielder,” Kansas City manager Matt Quatraro said. “We got to take a chance to score there every time. They made a good throw and a good tag. MJ did a good job to try and evade it. The way the game was going, you could tell it wasn’t going to be a high-scoring game.”
Giovanny Gallegos replaced Mikolas in the ninth and gave up a double and single to start the inning. Vinnie Pasquantino scored on a fielder’s choice by Bobby Witt Jr., cutting the deficit to a run. Gallegos went on to retire the next two hitters and record his seventh save.
The Cardinals got a run in the sixth with two outs against Carlos Hernández (0-2). Paul Goldschmidt reached first on an infield single. Arenado hit a run-scoring double to left-center. Arenado has a team-high 18 RBI in interleague play this season.
“We didn’t score many runs, but Mikolas didn’t give up any so it’s a good win,” Goldschmidt said.
St. Louis extended its lead to 2-0 in the eighth Gorman’s sac fly off Aroldis Chapman, scoring Tommy Edman.
Zack Greinke started for the Royals but didn’t figure in the decision. The 39-year-old right-hander pitched five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and a walk with six strikeouts. He ranks first in starts (526) and innings pitched (3,309⅓), second in wins (224) and third in strikeouts (2,929) among active pitchers.
“He’s a really talented guy,” Mikolas said. “Anytime you go up against a guy like that, you want to do good. It makes you want to impress. I watched him on TV.”
After off days today and Thursday, the Cardinals return Friday, continuing a stretch of 13-of-15 games on the road between May 22-June 7.
With a win, the Cardinals (15-13) achieved a winning month of May for the 16th time since 2000.
“We were in a deep, dark place earlier in the month, a team meeting kind of place,” Mikolas said. “We had to assess things. We’ve definitely turned it around. I think our best ball is still to come.”
Notes: Tommy Edman made his first career start and third overall appearance in center field in the regular season, previously appearing as a defensive replacement July 12, 2019, verus Arizona (one inning) and May 21, 2022, at Pittsburgh (five innings). The 28-year-old Edman also appeared in center in Game 4 of the NLCS at Washington (one inning). This season, the former Gold Glove second baseman has appeared at shortstop (27 games), second base (21 games), and right field (seven games). … Royals OF Kyle Isbel (left hamstring strain) still undergoing a rehab process after getting hurt running out a bunt earlier this month against Baltimore. He is doing more baseball activity, but a rehab assignment is not in the immediate future. … Cardinals OF Lars Nootbaar (back spasms) is getting treatment and listed as day to day. He left Monday’s game in third inning under his own power while walking with trainers. … Cardinals RHP Jake Woodford (right shoulder inflammation) began an injury rehabilitation assignment Tuesday night with Triple-A Memphis, starting for the Redbirds at the Omaha Storm Chasers, the Royals’ affiliate. Woodford has missed the last 24 games. … The Cardinals have today and Thursday off before playing Friday at Pittsburgh. No starter has been determined. … The Royals have off today and Thursday before before hosting Colorado on Friday. No starter for either club has been named.