Drew Butera doesn’t get much playing time.
But the Kansas City Royals backup catcher made the most of his opportunity on Wednesday.
Butera had a two-run single in the 10th inning and the Royals earned a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Butera’s RBI were his first since May 2. Jon Jay followed with an RBI single as the Royals won their first series since taking three of four from Detroit May 3-6.
“That’s a tough spot to be in right there. You don’t want to expand. You don’t want to chase, and perfect,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Didn’t try to do too much with it. It was just textbook, clutch hitting right there, just driving the ball up the middle.”
Butera was playing just his second game in 10 days. Now in his ninth big-league season, he knows how to stay prepared.
“I knew I needed to get the ball in the outfield so I was looking for something up I could drive,” Butera said. “I got a pitch up over the plate.”
Salvador Perez hammered a first-pitch fastball by Cardinals starter Michael Wacha for his eighth home run of the season to lead off the second.
Royals starter Jakob Junis gave up two runs in five innings, while striking out seven.
Blaine Boyer (2-0) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win. Kelvin Herrera earned his 10th save with a perfect 10th.
Abraham Almonte scored on a sacrifice fly in the sixth to tie it 2-2.
Wacha retired 14 of the first 15 batters he faced. He gave up two runs, one earned, in 6 2/3 innings.
Bud Norris (1-1) pitched a perfect ninth, but couldn’t record an out in the 10th, giving up back-to-back singles to Jorge Soler and Alex Gordon before compounding the issue by committing an error on Alcides Escobar’s sacrifice attempt to load the bases ahead of Butera.
“Giving him three days off, (Norris) wanted the ball there,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “He’s our guy. We’re going to give it to him.”
Francisco Pena capped a two-run second inning with an RBI double, giving the Cardinals a 2-1 lead. Pena had a pair of hits after going 1-for-12 the previous three games.