|Cardinals seek consistency in series finale vs. Rangers|
Every win the St. Louis Cardinals have enjoyed this month has been a lopsided one. On Sunday, the Cardinals will look to finally establish some consistency in the finale of a three-game interleague series at the Texas Rangers.
Right-hander Jack Flaherty (4-3, 4.34 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Cardinals against Rangers left-hander Drew Smyly (0-3, 6.85 ERA) as the two teams complete their first regular-season series in Texas since 2004.
The Cardinals snapped a three-game losing streak Saturday night, when Paul DeJong collected a season-high four RBIs, and Dakota Hudson earned the win by tossing six solid innings in an 8-2 victory.
The win was just the fifth in 17 games this month for the Cardinals, and the fourth in which they won by at least six runs. St. Louis beat the Washington Nationals 5-1 on May 1 before routing the Philadelphia Phillies (6-0) on May 6, the Pittsburgh Pirates (17-4) on May 9 and the Atlanta Braves (14-3) last Tuesday.
The Cardinals headed into Saturday having been outscored 21-5 over the previous three games by the Braves and Rangers. St. Louis hasn't won consecutive games since a five-game winning streak that concluded with the win over the Nationals.
"We just needed to get back out there and get back on the horse and get things going a little bit," Hudson said Saturday night. "And I felt like today was a good day for that."
The loss snapped a red-hot run for the Rangers, who won their previous three games over the Cardinals and Kansas City Royals by a combined margin of 29-5. Texas looked like it might be ready to continue doing damage in the first inning Saturday, but Hudson wriggled out of a first-and-third, none-out jam and didn't allow a run until the fifth, by which time St. Louis held a 6-0 lead.
"We just didn't really get much of anything going today," Rangers manager Chris Woodward said afterward. "The first inning, I thought we had them kind of on the ropes there, first and third, nobody out. To not capitalize in that inning and (not) have a big inning kind of impacted the rest of the game, kind of put us back a little bit and gave them kind of hope to say, 'OK, we can score a couple runs and get ahead.' And that's kind of what happened."
Flaherty earned the win in his most recent start Tuesday, when he gave up three runs over six innings as the Cardinals cruised past the Braves. He has never faced the Rangers.
Smyly last pitched May 11, when he took the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) over 4 2/3 innings of relief as the Rangers fell to the Houston Astros, 11-4. It was the first appearance of the season out of the bullpen for Smyly, who lasted fewer than five innings in four of his first five starts. He has never faced the Cardinals.
--Field Level Media