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By AVERY OSEN
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) ‚Äî Nolan Arenado homered for the third straight game, Tyler O’Neill hit one right after him and the St. Louis Cardinals completed an in-state sweep of the Kansas City Royals 7-2 on Sunday.
In the second inning, Arenado and O’Neill hit back- to-back homers for the second time in three games.
Arenado’s was a two-run blast for his 25th and O’Neill powered his 432 feet over the center field wall for his 20th and a seven-run lead.
“They mirror each other,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “Tyler has a great skillset with his power and is using the whole field. He’s not trying to do too much and he’s productive in many ways.”
The 30-year -old Arenado went 5 for 12 with three home runs, nine RBIs and four runs in the series.
“Those contributions in the middle of the lineup is huge,” Shildt said.
St. Louis batted around in the first inning and scored three times. Arenado had an RBI single and Jose Rondon hit a two-run double to lead 3- 0.
J.A. Happ (7-6) faced the Royals for the fourth time this season. This start was his best of them all.
He went 5 2/3 innings and allowed no runs, five hits, two walks and struck out two. It was the second time this season he didn’t allow a run in a start. Cardinals starting pitchers gave up just one earned run over 17 1/3 innings in the series.
“New surroundings and atmosphere can help sometimes,” Happ said. “We scored some runs early and relief did a great job. It was a nice win today.”
Kris Bubic (3-6) went 1 1/3 innings allowing seven runs, nine hits, one walk and struck out one. It was the shortest start of his career and most runs given up.
Kansas City’s bullpen threw 7 2/3 shutout innings allow- ing just three hits in relief of Bubic.
“We’ll go pitch-by-pitch with him on this start,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said.
“The whole ‘pen pitched well. That’s incredible especially with the workload they’ve had.”
Salvador Perez hit his 30th homer of the season in the eighth inning to put the Royals on the scoreboard. He hit it 450 feet into the left-field fountains, which also marked his 400th career extra-base hit.
The Cardinals outscored the Royals 22-6 in the three- game set and have won six in a row and eight of their last nine games. Kansas City has lost four in a row and five of the last six.
The Cardinals have a day off before returning home against Milwaukee while Kansas City continues their homestand tomorrow night against Houston.