Counting a 2-1 series win over Tampa Bay, the Cardinals had a .625 percentage (50-30) in interleague play before the Royals came to town. Outfielder Skip Schumaker, one of many hitless Cardinals on Thursday -- the club had just two hits -- said, "We were just flat for some reason, offensively. We had no energy."
All three series losses at home for the Cardinals have come against second-division teams -- Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Kansas City.
Speaking about the Royals, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said, "I've watched them play quite a bit this year. They really haven't been crushed by a lot of people. You look at those ERAs of some of the guys who pitched against us and you do that in the American League (with the designated hitter)... I think they're legitimate.
"We got outplayed. We got outmanaged."
In theory, it gets only tougher now for the Cardinals, who will go on the road for nine interleague games -- the first six at Boston and Detroit and then three at Kansas City.
"How much tougher could it get?" La Russa said. "You get (four) runs in three days. That's pretty tough."
ROYALS 4, CARDINALS 1: Brad Thompson, brought off the disabled list for one start, worked five innings, giving up two runs. But the Cardinals offense contributed just a home run by Rick Ankiel and single by Aaron Miles. The Cardinals did not have an at-bat with a runner in scoring position.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--RHP Jason Isringhausen, building up to resume his former closer role, worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings, marking his longest stint in seven years, when he was with Oakland. He has been spotless in his last 3 1/3 innings since coming off the disabled list.
"I'll go out there as long as they want," Isringhausen said. "If they want to stretch me out, stretch me out."
As for getting the ninth-inning job back, Isringhausen said, "I'm not real worried about it. We've got a long time left. I've got to get innings in right now."
--C Yadier Molina, who sat out three games with a concussion, said he felt good and was hopeful of playing this weekend in Boston.
Manager Tony La Russa said that Molina, after going through some testing on Wednesday, was not cleared to play yet. Molina, however, was scheduled to be on the charter flight to Boston.
--RHP Kyle Lohse, who will pitch in Boston on Friday, has never beaten the Red Sox -- the only American League team he hasn't defeated.
--CF Rick Ankiel, who homered for the club's only run, has just seven hits in 10 games since June 3. But six have been extra-base hits -- three homers, two doubles and a triple.
--In their last seven games, all since 1B Albert Pujols went on the disabled list, the Cardinals have scored three runs or fewer in six of them. They have lost five.