Rangers rally for franchise-record 9th consecutive series win
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Ian Desmond had a sacrifice fly to cap a two-run ninth-inning rally and the Texas Rangers overcame a late three-run deficit to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 on Saturday.
Texas has five straight victories and won its franchise-record ninth consecutive series -- the Rangers beat the Cardinals 1-0 on Friday to begin the three-game set. The Cardinals have lost four straight.
The Rangers scored twice in each of the eighth and ninth innings.
In the ninth, closer Trevor Rosenthal (2-2) hit Robinson Chirinos with a pitch to load the bases, and then Kevin Siegrist walked Shin-Soo Choo and allowed Desmond's fly ball to left.
The Rangers, 44-25, are off to their best start in club history after 69 games. The 2012 and 1996 teams went 42-27.
Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing four hits and a walk. He struck out four and has a 1.23 ERA over his past four starts.
Jake Diekman got his second save in as many chances. Shawn Tolleson (1-2) pitched a scoreless eighth to get the win.
Texas starter Nick Martinez gave up six hits and three runs in 4 1/3 innings. He is replacing Yu Darvish in the starting rotation while Darvish is on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder discomfort.
Kolten Wong's run-scoring single in the fifth pushed the lead to 2-0. Stephen Piscotty followed with a bases-loaded single for a 3-0 lead.
St. Louis infielder Matt Carpenter reached base three times and extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a double in the seventh.
Rangers: RHP Tom Wilhelmsen declined an outright assignment to Triple-A Round Rock, making him a free agent.
Cardinals: OF Tommy Pham was recalled from Triple-A Memphis. Pham suffered an oblique injury on opening day, then hit .250 with four home runs and 19 RBIs in 37 games during combined stints in Memphis and Double-A Springfield. Pham struck out as a pinch hitter in the seventh. ... OF Randal Grichuk was sent to Memphis to make room for Pham. Grichuk was hitting .206 with eight home runs and 27 RBIs in 62 games.
LHP Martin Perez (6-4. 3.38) will start for the Rangers against RHP Mike Leake (5-4, 4.08) in the final game of the series Sunday. Perez has won each of his last five starts and is 6-2 with a 2.93 ERA over his last 10 starts. Leake is 5-1 with a 2.66 ERA in his last seven starts.