Rookie Fernando Romero struck out nine in six shutout innings, leading the visiting Minnesota Twins to a 6-0 victory over the depleted and weary St. Louis Cardinals on Monday at Busch Stadium.
Robbie Grossman, Bobby Wilson, Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler each had RBI doubles for the Twins, who have won four in a row. That was more than enough for Romero (2-0), who put together his second straight impressive start in his debut season.
The Cardinals were coming off a 14-inning battle with the Chicago Cubs that lasted into Monday morning. They also were without injured veteran catcher Yadier Molina. St. Louis struggled to generate any offense against Romero, who has yet to surrender a run in two big league starts.
Molina is expected to miss at least a month after being hit in the groin by a 102 mph fastball on Saturday. Molina sustained a traumatic hematoma and underwent emergency surgery hours after sustaining the injury. He was discharged from the hospital Sunday.
The Twins got to Cardinals starter John Gant in the first inning. Joe Mauer drew a leadoff walk and reached second on a wild pitch. Kepler drove in Mauer with a double to right and then scored on Rosario's double to right, giving Minnesota an early 2-0 lead.
Wilson drove home Eduardo Escobar in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly, and Grossman made it 4-0 by doubling home Escobar in the sixth inning.
The Twins tacked two insurance runs in the eighth inning on an RBI single from Grossman and an RBI double from Wilson.
Gant (1-1) surrendered four runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Paul DeJong had a one-out double in the second inning, but Romero regrouped and struck out Kolten Wong and induced Carson Kelly to ground out to shortstop to end the inning. DeJong had three of St. Louis' four hits.
Trevor Hildenberger and Matt Magill combined to toss three scoreless innings in relief for the Twins.
The second and final game of the series is Tuesday. Right-hander Carlos Martinez is slated to start for the Cardinals. Minnesota will counter with right-hander Jake Odorizzi.
--Field Level Media