ST. LOUIS (AP) — Taking a day off isn’t high on a list of favorite things for Paul Goldschmidt, but the St. Louis first baseman knows it can help.
Goldschmidt hit an early home run and Steven Matz and the Cardinals bullpen made it stand up Monday in a 1-0 win over the Kansas City Royals.
Goldschmidt, who got his first day off of the season Sunday, connected with one out in the first inning against Zack Greinke.
“It’s nice to relax and come in fresh today,” Goldschmidt said. “It’s a long-term benefit. We’re in the middle of 20 in a row and 30 of 31, so it was a great time for it.”
“Off days are important but as a competitor, you want to keep going. Earlier in my career, I’d fight the manager more. It’s a long season. I want to stay fresh and play well,” he said.
It was the 71st career homer in the first inning for Goldschmidt and that ranks third among active players. Teammate Albert Pujols is first with 154.
“It was a bad pitch to him,” Greinke said.
The Royals lost their fourth in a row overall, and have dropped 21 of their last 28 to St. Louis dating to Aug. 7, 2017. This game was a makeup from a rainout on April 13 — the I-70 interleague series continues Tuesday and Wednesday in Kansas City.
It was the third time the Royals have been shut out this season and it was their second 1-0 loss.
“It’s a shame to lose such a great start and not give him any support,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said. ”Really it was just one pitch. We say that a lot but he executed pitches all day long. One slider didn’t do what he wanted it to do. It’s not often one pitch beats you but he did it to the wrong hitter.”
Matz (3-1) scattered four hits, including a pair of doubles, in six innings. He walked none, hit a batter and struck out…