ARLINGTON, Texas — Cardinals reliever Genesis Cabrera got the first batter of the ninth inning to ground out, but he did not record another out in the inning as the Texas Rangers rallied for their second walk-off win of the season.
The Cardinals came back to tie the score in the eighth inning but lost their fourth in a row, 4-3, in the series opener at Globe Life Field on Monday night.
After being swept in a three-game weekend series in Pittsburgh, the Cardinals now have lost six of their last seven games and have the National League’s worst record, 25-36.
Cabrera gave up a walk to Marcus Semien, a bloop single to Corey Seager just over the infield that third baseman Nolan Arenado couldn’t catch then a single on the ground to left field by Nathaniel Lowe that drove in the winning run. The throw by left fielder Brendan Donovan went up the line and there was no tag attempt at the plate.
Confusion clogs the bases
A Cardinals offense that had been minimal for the first seven innings against Rangers left-hander Martin Perez wasted little time getting going against the Rangers relief corps.
Perez held the Cardinals to one run on three hits and one walk in seven innings. Paul DeJong’s first-inning RBI single snapped an 0-for-14 stretch with runners in scoring position for the Cardinals. It also gave them a 1-0 lead.
However, the Cardinals trailed 3-1 going into the eighth.
Jordan Walker fell behind in the count 0-2, but still drew a leadoff walk against reliever Grant Anderson. Pinch hitter Nolan Gorman and leadoff hitter Tommy Edman followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases.
Paul Goldschmidt’s sacrifice fly to left field allowed Walker to score. Nolan Arenado then roped a double to the wall in left field. Rangers left fielder Ezequiel Duran ran into the wall and nearly made the catch. The potential of Duran making the catch led to confusion on the bases. The lead runner, Gorman, and the trail runner, Edman, nearly were next to each other as they approached third base.
Gorman scored and Arenado advanced to third base while Edman got caught in a rundown and was tagged out near home plate. The inning ended with Arenado stranded on third and the score tied 3-3.
Goldschmidt and Arenado drove in runs in the same game for the first time since May 15.
Wainwright works around traffic
Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright allowed three runs on eight hits and two walks in 5⅓ innings against the highest-scoring offense in the majors.
The Rangers appeared poised to get to the veteran right-hander early with two hard-hit balls in the first inning that put runners in scoring position with only one out. Corey Seager lined a one-out single to right field with an exit velocity of 103.6 mph, followed by a Lowe double that rocketed to the right-center field wall at 102.6 mph.
With runners on second and third, Wainwright struck out dangerous Rangers slugger Adolis Garcia — Wainwright got him to swing and miss at a fastball for strike three — and then got Josh Jung to hit an inning-ending fly ball.
The Rangers’ deep lineup got to Wainwright in the second inning. The first three batters he faced in that frame, the No. 6-8 hitters in the lineup, collected hits. The third hit, a double by Ezequiel Duran, scored the first run for the Rangers. An RBI groundout and a Marcus Semien single gave the Rangers a three-run inning. Semien’s single extended his hitting streak to a career-best 24 games, the longest streak in the majors this season.
The West’s best
The Rangers entered play on Monday leading the AL West Division, 3½ games ahead of the defending World Series champion Houston Astros, and with the second-best record in the majors. Their 38-20 mark gave them best 58-game start in franchise history.
They boasted the best offense in the majors, having scored an average of 6.48 runs per game. That marked topped MLB, and they also ranked first in batting average (.278) and on-base percentage (.345). They’d outscored opponents by 152 runs. They’d collected 20 of their wins by a margin of five runs or more.
Garcia, a former Cardinals prospect purchased by the Rangers in December 2019, began the day ranked fifth in the AL in home runs (14) and tied for second in RBIs (51).
Semien and Jonah Heim ranked fifth and sixth, respectively, in the league in RBIs. Semien also ranked sixth in batting average (.303). Meanwhile, rookie Josh Jung’s .518 slugging percentage ranked seventh in the AL.
Luken in the Lone Star State
Cardinals first baseman/designated hitter Luken Baker’s whirlwind week continued with a trip to his home state of Texas.
The 6-foot-4, 280-pound slugger received the call up from Triple A and made his major-league debut on Sunday in Pittsburgh. Next, he gets a bit of a homecoming series about 20 to 30 minutes away from where he went to college at Texas Christian University.
He, his wife and members of their family adjusted travel plans on short notice after Baker got called up. Triple-A Memphis had been playing in Nebraska when he got the news.
Seven members of his immediate family made it to Pittsburgh, but everything is bigger in Texas.
He was one for four Monday and struck out three times.
“I have a lot of family and a lot of stuff going,” Baker said. “It’s exciting. It is a lot. It’s the first full series being here. Having it in my hometown is great. Maybe a couple of long nights, late nights, but it’s pretty neat, pretty unique.”
Baker’s family traveled from the Houston area, and his wife’s family lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and the Plano/Frisco area. They’ll make it a “full family affair.”
A former National High School Player of the Year as a prep player in Texas, Baker grew up following the Houston Astros. Going to college so close to the Rangers old ballpark across the street, he was in attendance for Adrian Adrián Beltré’s 3,000th hit.