(AP) The St. Louis Cardinals scored so many times off Jason Vargas and the Kansas City bullpen in the fifth inning Tuesday night that they broke the Royals’ crown-shaped scoreboard.
Or maybe it was just a coincidence that the massive outfield video screen suddenly went dark.
Regardless, the malfunction saved Royals fans from having to watch the runs pile up. Yadier Molina, Jedd Gyorko and Randal Grichuk each went deep, and the Cardinals pounded out 14 hits in a 10-3 victory — the fourth straight for the suddenly serious NL Central contenders.
Michael Wacha (9-4) allowed a three-run double to Cheslor Cuthbert but otherwise kept the Royals in check, surrendering six hits over six innings to win for the sixth time in seven decisions.
His life was made easier by the run support: St. Louis has scored 38 times in the last four games .
Finding the way over the wall, too. Grichuk and Gyorko connected off Vargas (13-6) to highlight the six-run fifth , when the scoreboard at Kauffman Stadium suddenly went dark. It remained that way until the seventh, when about half of it blinked back online and the Cardinals were tacking on runs.
Cuthbert’s knock down the left-field line staked Vargas to a 3-1 lead, but the left-hander responded with the kind of outing that’s become common since his All-Star appearance last month.
Grichuk homered to begin the fifth for St. Louis, and Vargas hit Matt Carpenter before allowing a single to Tommy Pham. Vargas also threw two wild pitches to put runners on second and third, then he walked Jose Martinez before giving up Molina’s go-ahead single.
Dexter Fowler doubled to right to chase Vargas from the game, but reliever Mike Minor was unable to stop the cascade of runs. Gyorko pounded his 2-2 pitch an estimated 420 feet over the left-field bullpen to give the Cardinals a 7-3 lead and close the book on Vargas’s latest miserable outing.
He was 12-3 with a 2.22 ERA at the end of June. He’s 1-4 with a 7.62 ERA in six starts since.
Vargas’s downturn has coincided with a slump by the Royals, who made a series of trades in late July with an eye on contending for the AL Central. Instead, they’ve dropped seven of the last nine to fall off the division-leading Cleveland Indians’ pace.