Cardinals lose eighth inning lead, drop fifth straight
ST. LOUIS -- Manager Mike Matheny had a simple explanation about why the Cardinals got swept by the Texas Rangers and lost their fifth straight home game.
Jurickson Profar hit a two-run, bases-loaded pinch-hit single in the eighth, lifting the Rangers to a 5-4 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday.
"You get outplayed. You don't really overthink it any more than that," Matheny said. "Certain parts of our game aren't allowing us to finish games. We know that it's there. We've seen some glimpses of putting it together. We need to improve on it."
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It was the first winless homestand of at least two series for St. Louis since 1983.
"I haven't been a part of anything like that since I've been here in St. Louis," said Matt Carpenter, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games in which he's hitting .463. "Losing five in a row, it's not ideal."
He gave the Rangers credit.
"That's a really good team. As you can see, they never quit and they pitched well," Carpenter said. "We have a good offense and we couldn't put them away like we hoped, and they hung around, and unfortunately we gave up some games."
Matheny remains optimistic about his club.
"We have a good team. This team is way better than anybody's giving us credit for," Matheny said. "The proof is in what you do, and we haven't done it on a consistent basis. It's frustrating for all of us. We've seen glimpses of what this team can be and we can't put it all together. There's no reason why we can't."
Texas swept the three-game series and has won six in a row and eight of its last nine games. The Rangers are 14-4 this month, and they improved to an MLB best 16-4 in one-run games this season.
With two outs in the eighth, Rougned Odor doubled off reliever Matt Bowman (1-2). An intentional walk and a fielder's choice loaded the bases. Profar pinch-hit for reliever Tony Barnette. Batting left-handed, Profar lined a 2-2 pitch into left to drive in the winning runs.
"The whole game, I was ready for that," Profar said about his first pinch-hit opportunity this season. "I was just sitting there, but everybody on the bench has got to be ready to hit. I was just looking for my pitch. It was a pitch in the zone so I could drive it."
Barnette (4-2) pitched 1 2/3 innings in scoreless relief for the win. Sam Dyson pitched the ninth for his 13th save in 14 chances.
"These guys continue to impress us on how they go about their jobs and how engaged they stay," Texas manager Jeff Bannister said. "They never believe they're out of a game. They believe they're going to get the job done."
LOOKING FOR A HIT
Texas starter Perez struck out in the fifth. He has eight strikeouts in nine at-bats in the major leagues.
St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina got the day off. Eric Fryer made his seventh start of the season at catcher. Molina is eight hits shy of 1,500 for his career.
HONORING FATHER'S DAY
The birds on the bat were blue for the Cardinals, who also sported light blue numbers on their uniforms and blue caps in honor of Father's Day. The uniforms of all MLB teams incorporated light blue into each team's logo, much like the special pink caps and jersey trim used for Mother's Day games.
Cardinals: St. Louis activated right-handed pitcher Seth Maness from the 15-day disabled list (right elbow inflammation) and optioned left-handed pitcher Dean Kiekhefer to Triple-A Memphis before Sunday's game. Maness went on the disabled list May 13 after going 0-1 with a 6.39 ERA in 13 games. Kiekhefer, a rookie, was 0-0 with a 5.73 ERA in 11 games with St. Louis.
Rangers: Catcher Robinson Chirinos, who was hit on the right hand by Trevor Rosenthal in the ninth inning Saturday and came out of the game in a double switch, was in the starting lineup, hitting eighth.
Cardinals: St. Louis heads to Chicago for a series of the top two teams in the Central Division. Jaimie Garcia (4-6, 3.93 ERA) will face Chicago's John Lackey (7-2, 2.66). Garcia's last win over the Cubs came June 3, 2011, when he threw eight innings in a 6-1 victory.
Rangers: Texas goes home to face Baltimore in a makeup game for the game postponed April 17. Derek Holland (5-5, 5.14) will square off against Kevin Gausman (0-4, 4.14). In his last six starts against Baltimore since 2011, Holland is 5-1 with a 1.90 ERA.