KANSAS CITY -- Two early runs and right-hander Jack Flaherty's continued success led to the Cardinals’ 2-0 win over the Royals on Tuesday night in the I-70 Series opener at Kauffman Stadium.
It was the Cardinals’ fourth straight victory and moved St. Louis to one game behind the first-place Cubs,

KANSAS CITY -- Two early runs and right-hander Jack Flaherty's continued success led to the Cardinals’ 2-0 win over the Royals on Tuesday night in the I-70 Series opener at Kauffman Stadium.

It was the Cardinals’ fourth straight victory and moved St. Louis to one game behind the first-place Cubs, who lost, 4-2, to the Phillies on Tuesday night, in the National League Central standings.

Box score

Flaherty has thrown a career-high 23 consecutive scoreless innings, which is the longest active stretch in the Majors. It’s the longest by a Cardinals starting pitcher in a single season since Adam Wainwright, when he threw 25 innings in 2014.

This was Flaherty’s third straight outing of seven scoreless innings. In his last seven starts, dating to July 7 against the Giants, Flaherty has a 0.79 ERA, allowing just four runs on 22 hits in 45 1/3 innings. Against the Royals, Flaherty struck out seven and intentionally walked one batter.

The heaviest traffic Flaherty faced was in the sixth when he allowed back-to-back singles. But he got Alex Gordon to ground into a double play, and with Nicky Lopez on third base, Flaherty struck out Hunter Dozier swinging with a 95-mph fastball.

As the Cardinals look to do damage in the search for a consistent offense, it was the opposite that helped them against Royals starter Glenn Sparkman. Dexter Fowler reached on an error in the first inning, and, after moving to second on a balk, he advanced on Tommy Edman’s groundout and scored on Paul Goldschmidt’s sacrifice fly. In the third, Lane Thomas scored when Edman advanced on his two-out single to get Dozier to hit the cutoff man and guarantee the run.

Anne Rogers covers the Cardinals for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @anne__rogers and on Facebook.

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