Texas Rangers

Here’s why Rangers believe missed chance in first hurt as much as Cardinals’ big fifth

Between Mike Napoli’s cameo appearance, 90 minutes’ worth of torrential rain and Brooks Koepka continuing to dominate the PGA Championship, it was an entertaining day at Globe Life Park.

And that was before the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals finally got under way after a rain delay of 2 hours, 11 minutes.

That wasn’t so entertaining, at least for the Rangers and their fans. The Cardinals and their fans seemed awfully pleased with how things went down.

Paul DeJong homered and drove in four runs, including two in a five-run fifth inning, and the Cardinals found a way to cool the Rangers’ hot bats in an 8-2 victory that ended in yet another downpour.

Though the game got out of hand in the fifth, a missed chance for the Rangers in the first inning contributed to their downfall.

“We really didn’t get much of anything going,” manager Chris Woodward said. “We had them in the first inning. We kind of had them on the ropes there, first and third and nobody out.”

Shin-Soo Choo walked and went to third as Willie Calhoun singled. Nomar Mazara was next, and he sent a chopper to Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter, the former TCU star.

Choo did what he was supposed to do, drawing Carpenter’s attention and getting caught in a rundown to avoid what would have been a sure double play. Calhoun, though, didn’t anticipate the play, and he and Mazara didn’t advance to second and third with one out.

Facing Joey Gallo with a runner at third might have put more pressure on Cardinals right-hander Dakota Hudson and caused him to make a mistake. But with runners at first and second, Hudson was able to get Gallo to pop up and Asdrubal Cabrera on an inning-ending grounder.

“To not capitalize in that inning and have a big inning impacted the rest of the game,” Woodward said. “It put us back a little bit and gave them hope to say, ‘We can score a couple runs and get ahead.’”

The Cardinals were leading 1-0 on an unearned run after four innings and facing Ariel Jurado as he started running out of pitches in his first start since April 21 for Triple A Nashville.

Three straight hitters reached against him with one out, with Carpenter driving in a run with a double off the top of the left-field wall. Jeanmar Gomez entered, and DeJong sent a sharp grounder past third and into the left-field corner to score two.

St. Louis added two more for a 6-0 lead. The Rangers chopped into it with two runs in their sixth, but couldn’t get anything else going.

The Rangers had scored at least four runs in six consecutive games to climb atop MLB in runs per game. Calhoun served as a spark in his first three games, though the Rangers have hit well much of the season.

“Our offense was good before that,” Woodward said. “We ran into a lot of good pitching, especially in the Houston series [last weekend]. He definitely provided a spark. I think it lights a fire under everybody.”

But the fire was doused early Saturday.

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.