David Freese hit a home run and drove in three runs in the 5-3 win, as the offense answered the call in Beltran's absence. Heading into the series opener against the Royals on Friday, the Cardinals will look to end their homestand by squashing their struggles at the plate.
"It's just a short little segment of a long season," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "I think the longer sample we have is more indicative. You just go through stretches like this. You can't be surprised because it happens. You're gonna have those. It happens to the best teams, the best offenses. The best defenses go through little spurts, the best pitching staffs go through them. It just happens."
While the Cardinals struggled to score runs in the early part of the homestand, Matheny's calm reaction to his team's slump isn't surprising. St. Louis is still second in the Majors in team batting average (.274) and fourth in runs scored (309).
The Cardinals' 6-7 record in June, however, could be cause for concern, as they sit three games below Cincinnati in the suddenly crowded National League Central.
Friday's starting pitcher, Kyle Lohse, has been stellar in his two starts in June, tossing 13 2/3 innings, allowing one run and holding opposing batters to a .106 batting average. He's 6-5 with a 3.97 ERA in 19 career starts against Kansas City.
The Royals enjoyed their first and second walk-off wins of the season on Wednesday and Thursday nights, as they head into St. Louis after sweeping the Brewers in three games. The Royals' only other sweep this season came in a two-game set against the Rangers on May 14 and 15.
Kansas City will send Vin Mazzaro to the mound. The right-hander is coming off his first loss of the season on Saturday against Pittsburgh, as he lasted three innings and allowed four earned runs in his fourth start this year. While Mazzaro holds a 3.60 ERA this season, in two career starts against the Cardinals he has a 5.73 ERA.
Cardinals: First-round pick Wacha signs
The Cardinals' first-round pick in the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Michael Wacha, made his first trip to St. Louis on Thursday to sign his contract with the club.
The 19th overall pick out of Texas A&M watched batting practice, met with players and coaches and took a tour of Busch Stadium after the signing.
Wacha will report to the Gulf Coast League next week to begin his professional career, followed by a planned promotion to the Cardinals' high-A Florida State League team thereafter. The right-hander has already logged 113 1/3 innings this season with the Aggies, finishing his collegiate season with a 9-1 record and a 2.06 ERA.
Royals: Journeyman Colon recalled
Roman Colon has traveled near and far, but he's finally back in Kansas City. The Royals recalled the right-handed reliever from Triple-A Omaha on Thursday to help bolster their depleted bullpen. Colon appeared in 43 games for Kansas City in 2009, but he was demoted early in 2010 and decided to try his hand at playing in Korea. He returned to the United States in 2011 with the Dodgers organization before signing back with the Royals this offseason.
Colon was 3-1 with a 3.34 ERA and five saves in 21 appearances for Omaha this season. The Royals demoted first baseman and designated hitter Clint Robinson to Omaha to make room for Colon.
Manager Ned Yost said the move was made as a direct result of the nine innings his bullpen pitched in the first two games of the series against the Brewers. Despite a need for another bench spot with Interleague Play on tap in St. Louis, Yost was forced to bring up another reliever.
Before Adam Dunn's sixth-inning home run off Jake Westbrook on Thursday, Cardinals starters hadn't allowed a home run since June 7, producing 38 consecutive innings without one.
Alex Gordon returned to the Royals leadoff spot on May 27, and he has responded by hitting safely in 14 of 16 games at the top of the order.