Joe Kelly has saved the Cardinals’ rotation

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For most of this season the Cardinals did everything they could to avoid putting Joe Kelly into the rotation, using him as a reliever for the first three months.

Injuries finally forced them to move him into the rotation in early July and he’s been fantastic ever since, going 7-0 with a 2.16 ERA in 10 starts. And he’s done that while the rest of the Cardinals’ rotation has fallen apart, with Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post Dispatch crunching the numbers to find that St. Louis’ non-Kelly starters have gone 19-18 with a 4.76 ERA during that same span.

Kelly’s secondary numbers are very underwhelming, including a 34/25 K/BB ratio in 58 innings and a .241 opponents’ batting average, but he’s served up just four homers in 247 plate appearances and has given up more than two runs just twice in 10 starts.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.