|1:05 PM PT2:05 PM MT3:05 PM CT4:05 PM ET16:05 ET20:05 GMT4:05 1:05 PM MST3:05 PM EST3:35 PM VEN0:05 UAE (+1)3:05 PM CT, May 18, 2019
Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas Attendance: 30,967
Rangers again go with 'opener' vs. Cardinals
St. Louis Cardinals at Texas Rangers
- St. Louis won two of three in its only ever road series against Texas in June 2004, but the teams have met for two series since (in 2013 and 2016, both in St. Louis), and the Rangers swept both series.
- Texas collected 21 hits against Kansas City on Thursday, tied for the most hits by any MLB team in a game this season. The last time the Rangers had 21 hits in a game was April 17, 2012. Three different Rangers had four-hit games, the only time that's been done in MLB this season.
- St. Louis scored 14 against Atlanta on Tuesday before combining for two runs over the next two games of the series. St. Louis is one of four teams to have scored 14+ runs multiple times in May, but the Cardinals have also scored one or no runs seven times in May, most in MLB.
- In his first two games of 2019, Willie Calhoun has homered in both while collecting six hits, four runs and five RBI. The only other Texas Ranger to ever have six hits and four runs in his first two games of a season was Gabe Kapler in 2000.
- Matt Carpenter homered last time out, and his 1.014 career OPS in interleague games ranks second among active players (Mike Trout, 1.020; minimum 500 PA). The TCU product and Texas native has a career .556/.692/.833 slash line in six games against the Texas Rangers.
- Marcell Ozuna hit his 13th home run of the season on Thursday, eight of which have come on the road. Only one National Leaguer has more home runs in road games this season (Nolan Arenado, nine). Ozuna has a .936 OPS on the road this season and a .736 OPS at home.
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The Texas Rangers were able to stay red-hot Friday night even with an "opener" serving as the starting pitcher.
On Saturday afternoon, the St. Louis Cardinals are going to look to the least-proven member of their rotation to stop a skid that threatens to erase the margin of error they built in April.
Right-hander Ariel Jurado will become the Rangers' second straight opener when Texas looks to clinch a series win in the middle game of a three-game set against the Cardinals. Jurado (1-1, 1.50 ERA) is scheduled to oppose St. Louis right-hander Dakota Hudson (2-3, 4.61 ERA).
The Rangers cruised to a 7-3 victory Friday night. Rougned Odor and Shin-Soo Choo homered during a seven-run second inning, and Adrian Sampson earned his first big league win with 5 1/3 innings of relief, allowing one earned run.
It was the third straight decisive win for the Rangers, who have outscored the Cardinals and Kansas City Royals 29-5 dating back to Wednesday.
"You have to ride those good times out as long as you can but stop the bad ones," Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. "And I think that's what the great teams do. You score runs, you stop them from scoring. It's really important over the course of a season and also in game, it's huge."
The Cardinals, on the other hand, have been outscored 21-5 in losing their past three games to the Rangers and Atlanta Braves. St. Louis is 4-12 in May and has fallen to just one game over .500, the closest it has been to the break-even mark since April 19 (10-9).
The Cardinals had plenty of opportunities Friday, when they collected nine hits but stranded a runner at third twice before Kolten Wong made the first out of the seventh inning trying to go from first to third on Harrison Bader's single.
"I wouldn't say (the Cardinals are) pressing, I would say (they're) just not getting the timely hit," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said Friday night. "Took some good swings, some balls to the track, some balls at people, but ultimately not good enough."
Jurado will follow in the footsteps of former closer Jose Leclerc, who tossed a perfect inning in his first career start Friday. The start Saturday will be the first of the season for Jurado, who made eight starts as a rookie last season.
Jurado last pitched Tuesday, when he gave up two runs over a season-high 2 1/3 innings in the Rangers' 11-5 loss to the Royals.
Hudson, the lone rookie in the Cardinals' rotation, didn't get a decision in his most recent appearance on Sunday, when he allowed three runs over six innings as St. Louis lost 10-6 to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is 0-2 in three starts this month despite a 3.18 ERA.
Jurado has never faced the Cardinals, and Hudson has yet to oppose the Rangers.
--Field Level Media
Updated May 18, 2019