The Texas Rangers attempt to complete a sweep of their three-game interleague series when they visit the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday. Texas has turned around its fortunes, winning four straight contests and five of its last six following a six-game losing streak. The Rangers captured the first two games of this set thanks to Nelson Cruz, who delivered a two-run single in the ninth inning of the opener to snap a tie before launching a two-run homer in the third Saturday to break a deadlock and lead the club to a 4-2 victory.
St. Louis took a lead in the first inning of each contest, only to surrender it in the top of the second and forge a tie in the bottom half. The National League Central-leading Cardinals will look to avoid matching their longest slide of the season. They dropped three straight from April 27-29, a skid during which they were outscored 16-4.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, ESPN
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers RH Nick Tepesch (3-6, 4.84 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Adam Wainwright (10-4, 2.37)
Tepesch escaped his start against the Oakland Athletics on Monday with a no-decision after surrendering six runs in 3 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old rookie is winless in his last six outings, going 0-3 with a 5.79 ERA. Tepesch allowed a total of four earned runs in 17 frames over the first three games of the drought but has been battered for 17 runs in 15 2/3 innings over his last three turns.
Wainwright had his five-start winning streak snapped by the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, when he yielded four runs in seven innings. The 31-year-old ace has worked at least seven frames in each of his last six outings. Wainwright - who will be facing Texas for the first time in his career - has displayed tremendous control this season, issuing fewer than two walks 13 times and only a pair of free passes in his two other starts.
1. Tepesch is starting in place of RHP Yu Darvish, who is being pushed back to face the New York Yankees on Tuesday.
2. Rangers RHP Alexi Ogando, who is on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, is expected to throw off a mound on Sunday.
3. St. Louis RHP Michael Blazek made his major-league debut Saturday, striking out two in a perfect inning of relief.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 7, Rangers 3