Wacha delivers but Cards' offense stalls against Hamels in 1-0 loss to Rangers
ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Cardinals starter Michael Wacha can't buy a break.
Wacha lost a career-high seventh straight decision, despite throwing one of his best games of the season as the Cardinals fell to the Texas Rangers 1-0 on Friday night.
Wacha (2-7) allowed one run over 7 2/3 innings. Rougned Odor drove Wacha's lone mistake 433 feet to straightaway center for the game's only run in the fifth.
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"I felt good going out there tonight," Wacha said. "I felt like I was getting ahead of guys and really pounding the strike zone."
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was impressed with Wacha, even if the result wasn't there.
"He did a nice job of staying consistent," Matheny said. "But the changeup was a great pitch for him today and a shame we couldn't get something going."
Wacha is the first Cardinals starter to lose seven straight decisions since Kip Wells in 2007. But it was the second straight quality start for Wacha, who gave up two runs in seven innings on Friday at Pittsburgh.
"It just feels like I'm in sync and the arm's in the right position whenever I'm going home," Wacha said. "It's just in the right position whenever in order to throw the ball wherever I want it to be consistently, but it's been a lot of work."
Matt Carpenter was the lone Cardinal to have success against Hamels, reaching all four times on two hits and two walks.
"He's made himself into a tremendous player," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He's patient at the plate when he needs to be, he covers the outer part of the plate as good as anybody and he can turn on a pitch."
After reaching a season-high seven games over .500 on Sunday, the Cardinals have lost three straight and fell to 15-19 at home.
Cole Hamels (7-1) outdueled Wacha, pitching 7 2/3 innings. It was his longest scoreless outing of the season and longest since he threw a no-hitter against the Cubs on July 25, 2015, as a member of the Phillies.
Hamels improved to 5-0 on the road and lowered his road ERA to 1.64 this season. He turned in his fourth consecutive quality start.
Hamels scattered five baserunners and allowed only one to reach second.
"He tried to pitch inside and outside and get it out of bounds and I never hit it," Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz said of Hamels. "I think he threw a pretty good game today."
It was Odor's third homer in as many games and the 19th for the Rangers in their last eight games.
Sam Dyson picked up his 12th save.
The Rangers have won four straight, improving to an AL-best 43-25. Texas improved to 4-0 all-time at Busch Stadium in the regular season and is a win away from winning a franchise-record eighth consecutive series.
Banister was impressed with Wacha.
"When he has that changeup going and he's able to pound the strike zone with that fastball, he's pretty challenging," Banister said.
The Cardinals recalled 2B Kolten Wong and optioned OF Jeremy Hazelbaker to Triple-A Memphis. Wong hit .429 with four homers and 11 RBI in seven games at Memphis and he also played center field in three of those games.
Rangers: RHP Tom Wilhelmsen cleared waivers and declined an outright assignment to Triple-A Round Rock, becoming a free agent. ... RHP Nick Martinez will start Saturday instead of Yu Darvish (shoulder).
Cardinals: RHP Seth Maness (elbow) threw a scoreless inning at Triple-A Memphis on Thursday, his second in as many days.
Rangers: Martinez (1-1, 3.38 ERA), who was called up from Round Rock on June 14, will be making his first start this season in the second of a three-game series Saturday. He earned his first career relief win at Oakland on Wednesday.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (7-5, 3.46 ERA) is coming off a career-high 8 1/3 innings and 122 pitches while allowing one run at Pittsburgh last Saturday. He will be making his first career appearance against Texas.