Jeff Banister assesses the Rangers' 8-2 road trip
Road trips don’t get much better than this.
The Texas Rangers completed a three-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday afternoon with another comeback win at Busch Stadium.
Jurickson Profar’s two-run, pinch-hit single in the eighth was the decisive blow in the 5-4 win. The Rangers went 8-2 on the trip and are 14-3 so far in a 20-consecutive-game stretch that ends Wednesday against the Cincinnati Reds.
How hot are the Rangers?
▪ They’ve won six in a row and 20 of their past 25.
▪ They’ve built an 8 1/2 -game lead in the American League West.
▪ They own an AL-best 45-25 record.
▪ They are 16-4 in one-run games.
The Rangers won their 22nd game in comeback fashion on Sunday, stunning the Cardinals for a second consecutive day with two late runs.
Profar pinch hit in the pitcher’s spot with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth. He lined a 2-2 pitch to center that scored Rougned Odor and Mitch Moreland.
Moreland kept the inning alive by beating out a force at second prior to Profar’s game-winner. He was called out on the field but the Rangers’ challenge showed he was safe and the call was overturned.
[Moreland] was going hard the whole way and just beat it. These guys continue to impress us on how they go about their job and how engaged they stay.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister
The inning started with Odor’s double and Moreland’s intentional walk. Moreland beat out the throw from shortstop at second on Elvis Andrus’ slow roller, which loaded the bases for Profar.
“[Moreland] was going hard the whole way and just beat it. These guys continue to impress us on how they go about their job and how engaged they stay,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “They never believe they’re out of a game. To come back in those games is just a testament to the resilience these guys have and the belief they’re going to get the job done.”
Moreland’s 456-foot home run to right field in the fourth tied the game at 2-2. It’s tied for the longest homer by an opposing player in the current Busch Stadium.
Nomar Mazara’s homer in the sixth gave Texas a 3-2 lead, but the Cardinals scored twice in the bottom of the inning against Martin Perez to reclaim a 4-3 lead.
I know we’re playing some pretty solid baseball and guys are coming up clutch and we’re definitely a tough team to beat right now.
Relief pitcher Sam Dyson
Tony Barnette, Matt Bush and Sam Dyson combined to throw 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Dyson earned his 13th save by getting out of a jam in the ninth. The Cardinals had runners on second and third with two outs before Dyson forced a groundout to end the game. Rangers relievers haven’t allowed a run in their past 15 innings, including 9 2/3 against the Cardinals.
“I know we’re playing some pretty solid baseball and guys are coming up clutch and we’re definitely a tough team to beat right now,” Dyson said. “We just have a lot of guys who don’t quit, don’t give up. The fight that each one of these guys has inside of them tells you a lot about them.”
Moreland, who had a comfortable lead with the Cardinals’ first baseman shaded toward second, knew he needed a good jump if Andrus’ hit it to the left side. Moreland had five homers and 11 RBIs on the road trip and didn’t start Friday or Saturday in St. Louis.
“It just shows what we’re able to do as a group, day in and day out, we continue to fight until the end,” he said. “We’ve shown that time and time again and obviously the last two days it was right there for everybody to see. We’ve really been on top of our game. We had so many different people step up. When you have a road trip like that it can’t go much better.”
The Rangers host the Orioles on Monday night in a makeup for a game rained out on April 17 and then host the Reds for a two-game series before having Thursday off, their first since June 2.
“I think they’re in a good place [mentally],” Banister said. “They have great confidence. They’re playing well. We’ve moderated some of the workload and that gives them an opportunity to be fresh.”
Rangers vs. Orioles
7:05 p.m. Monday, FSSW