While it won't erase the bitter memory of losing the 2011 World Series, a sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals could help the Texas Rangers pad their lead atop the AL West
The Cardinals' Adam Wainwright will try to thwart the Rangers' attempt at a season-high fifth straight victory by becoming the NL's first 11-game winner Sunday night.
In its first trip to Busch Stadium since blowing Games 6 and 7 of the 2011 World Series, Texas (43-32) has handled St. Louis so far, rallying for a 6-4 win Friday and taking control early in a 4-2 victory Saturday. Nelson Cruz and A.J. Pierzynski homered in the first three innings, and the Cardinals (47-28) registered only four singles in the final seven frames.
The Rangers' fifth win in six contests coupled with an Oakland loss in Seattle pushed Texas percentage points ahead of the Athletics in the division. The Rangers trailed Oakland by three games after losing for a sixth straight time last Sunday.
The Rangers have cut their deficit in part by scoring 33 runs in their last six games, including three wins against the A's earlier this week. They plated 39 during a 4-11 start to this month.
"We're just taking a lot of energy and a lot of intensity into each game," outfielder David Murphy told the team's website. "Obviously, we're swinging the bat better and pitching well, things are going better. We're in a good place and we need to focus on staying here as long as we can."
Texas has the difficult task of keeping that momentum going against Wainwright (10-4, 2.37 ERA), who had a streak of five consecutive winning starts snapped in his most recent outing.
The right-hander suffered a 4-2 loss to the lowly Chicago Cubs on Tuesday by giving up four runs in seven innings. He had a 1.64 ERA during his season-best win streak.
"If they had a happy zone, I found it," Wainwright said. "I threw it in the worst possible spot every time."
Wainwright missed the chance to pitch in the 2011 World Series after undergoing Tommy John surgery before the season and has never faced Texas.
The rookie right-hander is 0-2 with a 9.77 ERA in his last three starts and matched a career worst by allowing six runs in his 3 2-3 innings against Oakland on Monday. The Kansas City native and former University of Missouri player, though, avoided his fourth straight loss when the Rangers rallied for an 8-7 victory.
Teams are batting .168 against Tepesch (3-6, 4.84) in their first time through the lineup but .260 in their second look and .397 in their third.
"He's got to figure out what he's doing early to get outs and do it late," manager Ron Washington told the team's website. "Right now, he's getting challenged."
Tepesch will try to pull out of his funk while giving Texas its longest win streak since June 26-30.
|June 13, 2013||Jeff Baker||15-Day DL||Sprained right thumb|
|June 07, 2013||Nelson Cruz||Day-to-Day||Hamstring|
|June 07, 2013||Michael Kirkman||60-Day DL||Cutaneous lymphoma in right triceps|
|June 06, 2013||Alexi Ogando||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 06, 2013||Mitch Moreland||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|June 06, 2013||Mitch Moreland||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|May 26, 2013||John Gast||15-Day DL||Left shoulder tightness|
|May 26, 2013||Carlos Beltran||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder soreness|
|May 25, 2013||John Gast||Day-to-Day||Left game - left shoulder tightness|
|May 21, 2013||Fernando Salas||15-Day DL||Right shoulder irritation|
|May 18, 2013||Jaime Garcia||60-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
|May 09, 2013||Jake Westbrook||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- For the Texas Rangers , it was well-worth the wait - again.
Ian Kinsler singled in the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning after the Rangers knocked 10-game winner Adam Wainwright out of the game, and Texas completed a soggy, three-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals with a 2-1 victory Sunday night.
"It says a lot when you sweep a team that's that talented, so I think that's definitely a boost," said seventh-place hitter David Murphy , whose double kick-started the rally. "We had a lot of fun, we played with energy and we did exactly what we wanted to."
Wainwright (10-5) was upset when he was pulled after 105 pitches, and was still hot about it after the game.
Manager Mike Matheny said Wainwright, the third hitter due up in the bottom of the seventh, was going to come out then, anyway, and he thought the right-hander had labored a bit.
"Guys were running on the field and he'd already spoken to the umpire. No amount of lobbying, I wasn't going to stay in that game," Wainwright said. "But I mean, no, I didn't want to come out of that game. I felt I was as strong or stronger at the end there than I was in the beginning."
The finale of Texas' first visit to Busch Stadium since losing Games 6 and 7 of the 2011 World Series, and first time ever in the regular season, was delayed 2 hours and 59 minutes by heavy rain with less than half of a near-capacity crowd sticking around, and even less around for the finish at 1:06 a.m. The first pitch Saturday night was pushed back 1 hour, 6 minutes and was the third rain delay of the Cardinals' 3-4 homestand.
"You can't take that as an excuse," the Cardinals' Carlos Beltran said. "The other team is also going through what you're going through."
Rookie Nick Tepesch had a resurgent outing for Texas, allowing a run on four hits in 5 2-3 innings after surrendering 11 runs in 8 2-3 innings the previous two starts. Kinsler and Murphy had two hits apiece for the AL West-leading Rangers, who have won five in a row after losing six straight.
"Anytime we get a win, it definitely feels good," Tepesch said.
The Cardinals, who have the majors' best record at 47-29, were swept for the first time this season.
Wainwright fell short in a bid to become the first 11-game winner in the National League, allowing an earned run in 6 2-3 innings with six strikeouts and one walk. Leadoff man Matt Carpenter homered to start the sixth, singled and walked for St. Louis.
He disagreed with Matheny's assessment that he'd been laboring the last two innings.
"He's wrong. You don't want to call your manager out and I would never do that," Wainwright said. "Laboring is not what I was doing. He's the manager. He makes the call. I should have got the last hitter out I faced."
Robbie Ross (4-1) got the last out of the sixth to strand a pair of runners and Joe Nathan worked around two hits in the ninth to earn his third save of the series and 25th overall in 26 chances.
"Sometimes it's nice and sometimes it's pretty and sometimes it's beautiful and sometimes it's not," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Sometimes it's ugly, but the bottom line is he gets three outs."
Pete Kozma , whose fielding error at shortstop set the stage for Kinsler's go-ahead hit, lined into an inning-ending double play.
Wainwright retired the first two batters before Murphy doubled off the base of the right-field wall in the seventh and scored on a single by Leonys Martin to chase the Cardinals ace. Reliever Trevor Rosenthal appeared to get the Cardinals out of the inning still tied but Kozma dropped pinch hitter Jurickson Profar 's weak pop fly, and Kinsler followed with the go-ahead hit.
Tepesch, a former Missouri star from suburban Kansas City, held the Cardinals hitless before David Freese singled with one out in the fifth. Tepesch is a Royals fan but saw a lot of Cardinals games when he was at Missouri.
"We were stuck watching them quite a bit," said Tepesch, who struck out three and walked two. "That's what you were working for and I've still got a lot of work to do."
The Rangers had two on with one out in the sixth with the heart of the order coming up after Elvis Andrus drew a full-count walk, but Wainwright got Nelson to pop out to shallow left and Adrian Beltre on a foul ball out.
Both teams have Monday off with the Rangers headed to New York to face the Yankees and the Cardinals opening a two-game set at Houston - but both teams apparently had little interest in a postponement Sunday night.
Notes: Rookie LHP Martin Perez gave Rangers starters their first win of the month Saturday. Relievers claimed the first eight, half of them by Neal Cotts . ... Lance Berkman , who helped the Cardinals beat the Rangers in the 2011 World Series, did not play in the series due to knee soreness and because there was no DH in the NL park. Profar didn't start, either, after starting 16 games earlier this month. ... Actor David Guintoli, a St. Louis native who stars on the TV show Grimm, waited out the delay and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.