The Cardinals Major League Notebook 06/20

Rookie Colby Rasmus enjoyed the first four-hit day by a Cardinals rookie since Hector Luna(notes) in 2004. Rasmus has more or less come of age this month as a regular player.

But the larger developments Friday night in the Cardinals' rout of Kansas City were that struggling Ryan Ludwick highlighted a six-run third inning with his first career grand slam and that Khalil Greene, making his first big-league start at third base after coming off the disabled list, doubled and homered.

For anybody to pitch to Albert Pujols, as the Royals strangely did in the first inning when Pujols singled in two runs, Ludwick is going to have to produce from the cleanup spot. He was three for his last 17 before Friday but manager Tony La Russa said he had told Ludwick before the game "just to try to hit the ball solid."

As for Greene, who has been plagued by a social anxiety disorder, this is a first step. "I felt comfortable," said Greene, who was rarely tested at third base and came out in the fifth inning after fouling a ball off his foot (he wasn't seriously injured). "It's an on-going process for me to get things in order.

"It's a matter of me trying to tap into something that can further define the hitter I am and the hitter I can be."

Brad Thompson, after giving up a leadoff homer to Royals David DeJesus(notes), got 15 of his 21 outs in seven innings on ground balls. The Cardinals are 20-8 in games he has started in his career and 9-3 on the road.

Cardinals 10, Royals 5: The Cardinals hit three homers in an inning for the first time since July, 2007, when RF Ryan Ludwick (a grand slam), LF Rick Ankiel and 3B Khalil Greene all connected in a six-run third inning against Royals RHP Kyle Davies. Greene's homer was his third of the season and first since April 18.

Notes, Quotes

• 1B Albert Pujols, who went to high school and junior college in the Kansas City area, has driven in 26 runs in 25 interleague games at Kauffman Stadium. His two-run single in the first proved to be the game-winner.

Roster Report

• C Yadier Molina had two hits, giving him 15 in 33 interleague at-bats this season, as he continues to make a strong bid for his first National League All-Star berth.

• CF Colby Rasmus had his sixth game of at least two hits this month. He singled in his first three at-bats and then doubled in his fourth before popping up. "He's doing a fabulous job for such a young kid," said RF Ryan Ludwick of his 22-year-old teammate.

• RHP Brad Thompson didn't strike out anyone but was very efficient, throwing just 82 pitches in seven innings.

• RHP Kyle Lohse, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right forearm, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Sunday in Kansas City. If that goes well, perhaps he then would be ready for a rehab assignment.

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