KANSAS CITY — Brian Bannister won his third consecutive start with seven scoreless innings and Esteban German had three hits and three RBIs, leading Kansas City past St. Louis 8-1 Tuesday night.
Bannister (3-3), who failed to make the club out of spring training, gave up seven hits, walked two and tied his season-high with six strikeouts.
In his last three starts covering 22 innings, the son of former major league pitcher Floyd Bannister has allowed only one earned run and 14 hits.
He hasn’t given up an earned run in 17 consecutive innings.
Mark Teahen had an RBI triple in the first inning, doubled and scored in the second and singled home a run in the third, going 3-for-5.
He and German keyed a five-run outburst in the first inning against Brad Thompson (4-2), who had his worst outing since joining the rotation on May 8.
Thompson allowed 10 hits and eight runs in just 4 1-3 innings, with a season-high four walks and, for the first time in seven starts, no strikeouts.
Ryan Ludwick hit a pinch-hit homer leading off the ninth against reliever David Riske to help the Cardinals avoid being shut out for the seventh time this season.
After Teahen tripled into the left-field corner past a diving Chris Duncan, Thompson loaded the bases by hitting Mike Sweeney and Alex Gordon.
Two runs scored on German’s single, then two more came home when Jason LaRue doubled down the line just past third baseman Scott Rolen.
Gordon and German had RBI singles in the second and Mark Grudzielanek tripled and scored on Teahen’s single in the third.
Grudzielanek left the game in the fourth with tightness in his left knee.
Bannister, who was recalled from Triple-A Omaha on May 13, stopped a seven-game losing streak on June 1 by beating Tampa Bay 4-1, then beat Cleveland 4-3 in his next start to halt a three-game slide.
With a great chance to get to Bannister early, the Cardinals stranded five runners in the first two innings.
He struck out Juan Encarnacion with the bases loaded and two out in the first and got Scott Spiezio on strikes with two on and two out in the second.
Rolen singled in the sixth for the Cardinals, his 1,500th major league hit.
Encarnacion’s single in the eighth stretched his hitting streak to 12 games.
The lopsided loss did not hurt the Cardinals as they kept pace in the NL Central with slumping Milwaukee, which was no-hit by Detroit’s Justin Verlander in a 4-0 loss
In other news: Barry Bonds could become the home run king and fail to appear in an All-Star game in his own home park in the same season.
Although he’s slowly closing in on Hank Aaron’s career record, Bonds dropped into fourth place this week among NL outfielders in voting by fans, who will select the eight starters.
Players will elect eight more position players and eight pitchers for the game on July 10 in San Francisco’s AT&T Park.
Then St. Louis manager Tony La Russa, in conjunction with the commissioner’s office, will select four pitchers and three non-pitchers.
And La Russa isn’t saying what he might do if Bonds, a 13-time All-Star, is left out by players and fans.
“I’m not going to get into whether Barry Bonds is in,” he said Tuesday.
“He might get voted in. I’m not going to get into that.”
La Russa helped lead the Cardinals to the World Series title last season, earning the right to manage the All-Star team with their victory in the NLCS.
“I’ll get input from our coaches and MLB, whatever,” he said.
“The more people who are involved, the better chance you don’t miss somebody.”
In the latest balloting results released Monday, Alfonso Soriano of the Cubs had opened a 42,009-vote lead over Bonds.
Mets standout Carlos Beltran led with 1,017,795 votes, followed by Cincinnati’s Ken Griffey Jr. with 759,484.
Bonds hit his 747th career home run Monday night, leaving him eight behind Hank Aaron’s major league record 755. It was only his second homer since May 8.
“You try to make the best choice you can for the last picks,” La Russa said.