The Royals' David DeJesus and Alex Gordon each hit their eighth home runs of the season.
"I was trying to throw the ball away, I throw it in. I try to throw the ball in, I throw the ball away," McClellan said. "Frustrating, frustrating inning.
"You can't leave balls in the middle of the plate to those hitters. The thing that gets to me is that Looper pitched so well, and I feel like I just wasted that. That's the thing that just kills me." Kansas City's second one-run victory in two nights, 3-2, was the Royals' 10th interleague win in St. Louis in 20 games.
In Looper's last two starts, he has given up only eight hits and one run in 17 innings. He has, however, just one win to show for that period. The Cardinals haven't scored much lately, totaling three runs or fewer in five of their last six games, four of which they've lost.
All those games, of course, have been played without injured first baseman Albert Pujols. "There's nobody better than him," manager Tony La Russa said. "But part of dealing with it is not to talk about it and not give into it. We could have won that game today. We had 11 hits.
"Games count, even when Albert doesn't play, so you cannot give in to it."
ROYALS 3, CARDINALS 2: The Cardinals, by losing the first two games of the series, lost only their fourth series of the season and third at home. The Cardinals scored both their runs in innings set up by hit-and-run singles, one by SS Aaron Miles in the first, and the other by 1B Chris Duncan in the fourth.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--RHP Anthony Reyes was to replace RHP Todd Wellemeyer (elbow inflammation) in making Thursday's start, but Reyes will instead go on the disabled list himself Thursday with elbow inflammation. RHP Brad Thompson, who was rehabbing an elbow issue at Class AAA Memphis, will be taken off the 15-day disabled list to start against Kansas City.
--CF Rick Ankiel has had just one multi-hit game since May 14, and his average has dropped 44 points since then to .250. "He's going about it right. He could break through at any time," manager Tony La Russa said.
--C Yadier Molina, still recovering from a concussion suffered Sunday, will remain out of the Cardinals' starting lineup for a third straight game Thursday. This doesn't mean Molina couldn't catch if there were an injury to Jason LaRue, the only available catcher now. "If we had a chance to win a game, I could run 'Yadi' back there," manager Tony La Russa said.
Otherwise, La Russa said he would check first with INF Aaron Miles, who pitched a perfect inning last week.
--1B Chris Duncan had struggled since he returned to the majors, going 3-for-24 before he had two singles Wednesday.
--OF Skip Schumaker had two hits and is bating .412 (21-for-51) in his last 12 starts.
--The Cardinals have played four consecutive one-run games, winning two. They are 16-12 in one-run verdicts.