Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 6/15/12
(AP) -- Despite having their most productive hitter sidelined because of a stomach virus, the St. Louis Cardinals broke out of their prolonged slump in their last game. Carlos Beltran is expected to return Friday night for what would be his first game against the visiting Kansas City Royals - the team that drafted him 17 years ago - in the season's first installment of the I-70 Series. After totaling seven runs in the first five games of their homestand, the Cardinals (33-31) finally showed some signs of life offensively Thursday, beating the Chicago White Sox 5-3. David Freese homered, doubled and drove in three runs, while cleanup hitter Allen Craig doubled twice and scored three times. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny was encouraged by Freese's performance and hopes it's a sign of things to come. "You could tell in batting practice that he found something," Matheny said. "He translated that into the game. This is where he needs to be." Beltran has seemed to have the right approach at the plate all season. He leads the NL with 19 homers and is batting .462 with four home runs and two doubles during a seven-game hitting streak. One of the only things to slow down the six-time All-Star was his illness, which forced him to go to the emergency room Wednesday night. He sat out Thursday, but said after the game he would play Friday against Kansas City. The Royals (27-34) selected Beltran in the second round of the 1995 draft, and he was the AL rookie of the year four years later. He spent his first six-plus seasons with Kansas City before being traded to Houston in June 2004, and the Royals are the only team he's never faced. The Cardinals have won 12 of the last 17 meetings with their Missouri rival. Matt Holliday had a .435 on-base percentage with two homers and six RBIs in six games against the Royals last season, and scheduled starter Kyle Lohse (6-1, 2.90 ERA) has a 1.00 ERA in his last three outings against them. Lohse allowed three hits and two walks in a season-high 7 2-3 innings in Saturday's 2-0 win over Cleveland to improve his career record to 108-107. The right-hander has been outstanding in his last two starts, posting a 0.66 ERA while surrendering just five hits in 13 2-3 innings after recording a 5.70 ERA and allowing opponents to hit .347 in his previous four. The Royals arrive in St. Louis after beating Milwaukee 4-3 on Thursday to complete a three-game sweep, their first since April 29-May 1, 2011. All three victories over the Brewers were by one run and the last two were walk-off wins. "In the past, when we'd lose one-run games or two-run games it was because we didn't get the big hit when we needed it," outfielder Mitch Maier told the Royals' official website. "You don't get those hits, you lose. It was nice to finally get that in a series." Maier scored the tying run in the ninth inning Thursday on Brayan Pena's RBI single and the speedy Jarrod Dyson came around to score the winning run when the throw went to second base. Going for their first four-game winning streak since May 12-15, the Royals give the ball to Vin Mazzaro, who has a 5.73 ERA in two starts against the Cardinals. In Pittsburgh on Saturday, Mazzaro (2-1, 3.60) picked up his first major league hit and RBI in the fourth but fell apart in the bottom half of the inning. The right-hander walked a batter, hit a man and allowed two hits without recording an out in the fourth before being removed, and all those runners scored in a 5-3 loss.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Nets’ Joe Johnson would ‘welcome’ a trade

Report: Grizzlies want Kevin Durant in free agency

WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns throws down monster dunk

Dos Anjos: McGregor will 'break like a girl' at UFC 196

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell hit in groin by LeBron pass

Kobe Bryant has great response to Tyronn Lue story


Report: St. Louis Blues no longer interested in Jonathan Drouin

Doc Rivers: Warriors have 'swagger' of defending champion

Damian Lillard added as a finalist for 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

Celtics legend Paul Pierce prepares for what ‘could be’ his last game in Boston

Free-agent WR Josh Morgan accidentally shot himself, charged with crime

Jon Beason retires after nine NFL seasons

Fighter says sex before fight partly to blame for loss

Kevin McHale: James Harden being out of shape hurt Rockets early

WATCH: Kevin Love re-injures left shoulder

Johnny Manziel’s grandpa on ex-girlfriend: ‘The girl has her problems’

Andy Dalton reunited with missing luggage thanks to social media

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

Mario Williams recognizes Bills may release him

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker