OAKLAND, Calif. — A night earlier, Ryan Ludwick was one of only two St. Louis starters without a hit. His timing couldn’t have been better Sunday — against his former organization no less.
Ludwick hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh inning and drove in a career-high five runs, leading the Cardinals to their first interleague series win in four tries this season with a 10-6 victory over the Oakland Athletics.
Ludwick added a two-run single in the eighth, his career-high tying third hit of the game.
“It’s nice. Any time you can get back at your old team, there’s a little extra emotion behind it,” Ludwick said.
Colby Lewis (0-2) allowed three straight singles to start the seventh before Ludwick’s high drive landed in the elevated seats in left-center for his third homer. The 28-year-old Ludwick was drafted in the second round by Oakland in 1999 but never played for the A’s in the majors.
The Cardinals’ comeback kept Anthony Reyes from becoming the first St. Louis pitcher to lose nine straight decisions to start a season since Danny Jackson did it from April 27 to July 2, 1995.
Reyes, who is 0-8 this year, was called up Saturday from Triple-A Memphis to make his 10th start of 2007.
He plunked two batters in the A’s five-run first inning, but got a 1-2-3 second and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third. The right-hander has lost 10 straight regular-season decisions dating to his last win on Sept. 3, 2006, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He lost his final two decisions of 2006 and went winless in his last four outings of last year.
Royals 5, Marlins 4
KANSAS CITY — In 1997, the Kansas City Royals were given an option of moving to the National League. They opted to stay where they were. A decade later, it appears they made the wrong decision.
Brian Bannister won his fourth consecutive start, Esteban German drove in the go-ahead run and the Royals defeated the Florida Marlins 5-4 on Sunday to improve to 8-4 in interleague play.
The Royals are 20-38 against American League clubs.
“I really have no idea,” Mark Teahen said on why the Royals are better against National League teams. “I wouldn’t say one league is better than the other. I’m enjoying winning games no matter who it’s against.”
The Royals have won all four interleague series against St. Louis, Philadelphia, Colorado and Florida.
“We’ve started to play better at home,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said. “For whatever reason, it comes against National League clubs. I don’t look at any team being an American or National League club. I think it’s just a coincidence.”
It might be, but the Royals are 18-9 in winning eight of their nine past series against National League clubs, dating to last year. The Royals have been .500 or better in interleague games in three of the past four years, while losing 100 or more games in four of the past five seasons.