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Cardinals Open I-70 Series Against Greinke, Royals

(Sports Network) - Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke can only hope to finish his 2010 campaign with a winning record, considering the way things have gone this season. With a ledger six games below .500, Greinke will try to get closer to that mark tonight in the opener of the I-70 series versus the St. Louis Cardinals at Kauffman Stadium.

Greinke is 1-0 in his last two starts after going 0-4 with a 6.59 ERA in his previous five outings. Following a complete-game performance in a win at Cincinnati on June 13, the right-hander did not record a decision in last Saturday's 5-4 loss to Atlanta. He allowed four runs -- three earned -- in seven innings to remain at 2-8 to go along with a 3.94 ERA in 15 starts.

The Royals could use a good home showing out of Greinke, who is 1-3 in six trips to the Kauffman Stadium mound this season. In five career games (three starts) against St. Louis, Greinke is 2-2 with a 5.24 earned run average.

Kansas City will try to make it two straight wins in tonight's opener of a three-game set after putting the brakes on a five-game losing streak with Wednesday's 1-0 win at Washington. The Royals handed Nationals pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg his first major league loss, with Jose Guillen driving in the only run of the game during the fifth inning to salvage the three-game set.

Guillen, David DeJesus and Chris Getz all finished with two hits for the Royals, who got six shutout innings from starter Brian Bannister. The right- hander scattered five hits, struck out four and walked two batters beforeRobinson Tejeda threw two scoreless innings of relief. Joakim Soria fanned two batters in the ninth for his 17th save of the season.

"I changed speeds better. I stayed calm. I didn't press," Bannister said. "I didn't try to overthrow. I really just stayed within myself."

Kansas City will also host the Chicago White Sox on this brief homestand and is 14-19 at home this season.

St. Louis' chances of a three-game sweep at Toronto went down the tubes with Thursday's 5-0 loss in the series finale from Rogers Centre. Adam Wainwright was aiming for his 11th win of the season, but was saddled with the loss for allowing five runs -- four earned -- and six hits in just four innings. He struck out six batters and issued no walks.

"When he made mistakes most of the time with two strikes, it left the park," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said of Wainwright, who allowed three homers in defeat. "It was just one of those days he doesn't have very often, but it happened today."

Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols recorded two of the Cardinals' five hits, while Colby Rasmus struggled at the plate with three strikeouts in four appearances.

The National League Central-leading Cardinals entered the game having won two straight and four of their last five contests. They are now just a half-game ahead of the Cincinnati Reds in the division.

Jeff Suppan will make his third start for the Cardinals tonight and hasn't recorded a decision through two trips to the mound. He began his second tour of duty with St. Louis in a 4-2 win over Seattle on June 15, as he tossed four innings of one-run ball in a no-decision.

Suppan, who pitched for St. Louis from 2004-06, did not figure into the decision his last time out in Sunday's 3-2 loss against Oakland, as he was reached for a pair of runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings of work.

The right-hander, who went 0-2 in 15 games (2 starts) with Milwaukee before being claimed off waivers by the Cards, is 2-3 with a 6.16 ERA in seven games (six starts) against Kansas City.

St. Louis and Kansas City are meeting for the first time since the Cardinals won five of six matchups a year ago, including a three-game sweep at Kauffman Stadium from June 19-21. The Cardinals have won seven of the past eight meetings between the clubs.