The Texas Rangers rallied to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 on Friday night in their first meeting since the 2011 World Series. Nelson Cruz, whose misplayed fly ball in right field in Game 6 of the Series still haunts Rangers fans, came up with a two-run single in the top of the ninth to snap a 4-all tie and give the Rangers their third victory in a row.
Cruz gets big hits in return: Cruz returned to Busch Stadium, site of his famous noncatch in Game 6 of the World Series, and drove in the go-ahead run twice. The second one was as clutch as you can get. With the game tied 4-all and Cruz having moved into the No. 3 spot in the lineup, he grounded a single back up the middle to score Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus for a 6-4 lead. The first time came in the top of the second with an RBI single to make it 4-3. It gives Cruz 54 RBIs on the season.
Murphy saves day: With the tying run at the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Rangers left fielder David Murphy made a tremendous running, backhanded catch in the alley for the final out of the game.
Cotts gets out of jam: Reliever Neal Cotts replaced Derek Holland to start the bottom of the eighth, and loaded the bases with two outs and the game tied at 4-all. Cotts was able to get a ground ball to first baseman Mitch Moreland, doing a nice job of covering first base to get the final out of the inning.
First-inning blues: The Rangers failed to score in the first inning for the 14th straight game. The last time they scored in the first inning was June 7 at Toronto in a 6-1 loss to the Blue Jays. Meanwhile, the Cardinals led 3-0 just four batters into the bottom of the first against Holland on doubles by Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran, and a walk and another double by Allen Craig.
Holland rallies: Holland dominated after the first inning, needing just 91 pitches to get through seven innings. He allowed one more hit the rest of the way, and the Cardinals' only other run scored on a passed ball by catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Holland finished his night by striking out the side in the seventh inning.
Moreland is back: Moreland's last hit before going on the 15-day disabled list was a double, and his first hit off the DL was also a double, this one scoring Adrian Beltre, who had doubled in front of him in the second inning.
Elvis breaks out: Andrus has been having better at-bats and hitting the ball hard, and it finally paid off for him in the top of the second. Andrus broke out of a 2-for-25 slump with a two-run single to tie the game and knock out Cardinals starter Tyler Lyons.
A.J. crushing lefties: Pierzynski has no fear against left-handed pitchers. He was 2-for-2 against St. Louis lefties Friday. That put Pierzynski at 19-for-67 on the season against lefties.
Up next: The Rangers try to pull even in the series when a pair of 22-year-olds face off as Texas left-hander Martin Perez (0-1, 5.06 ERA) goes against Redbirds right-hander Shelby Miller of Houston at 6:15 p.m. CT Saturday on Channel 4 and ESPN FM 103.3 and 1540-AM. On Sunday, Rangers rookie right-hander Nick Tepesch (3-6, 4.84) takes on Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright (10-4, 2.37) at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN TV and ESPN-FM 103.3 and 1540-AM.