- Associated Press - Saturday, June 18, 2016

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Carlos Martinez dominated for a fourth straight start, only to have the Cardinals’ bullpen crumble.

Ian Desmond had a sacrifice fly to cap a ninth-inning rally and the Texas Rangers overcame a late three-run deficit to beat St. Louis 4-3 on Saturday and win a team-record ninth consecutive series.

The Cardinals dropped their fourth straight despite Martinez’s solid effort. He held the Rangers scoreless over seven innings, allowing four hits and a walk. He struck out four and has a 1.23 ERA over his past four starts.

Overall, Martinez is 7-5 with a 3.17 ERA.

“In the beginning of the season, I felt like I was going through a slump,” Martinez said through an interpreter. “Now, my mind is on the game, and I feel ready to keep going with this positive streak.”



Texas scored twice each in the eighth and ninth innings, with relievers Seung Hwan Oh and Trevor Rosenthal being charged with two runs apiece.

The Cardinals entered the contest with a 33-0 mark when leading after the eighth inning.

“It stings right now, that’s for sure,” manager Mike Matheny said. “Over the course of the season, you go back and remember games that you felt you should put away. And this was one.”

The Rangers, who beat the Cardinals 1-0 on Friday to begin the three-game set, have won seven of eight and 13 of 16. Their 44-25 mark is the best in team history after 69 games.

Texas is an AL-best 15-4 in one-run games. It overcame a 3-2 deficit by scoring off closer Rosenthal (2-2) in the ninth.

Rougned Odor and Jurickson Profar singled to start the rally. Rosenthal hit Robinson Chirinos to load the bases, and then Shin-Soo Choo coaxed a walk off Kevin Siegrist to tie the game. Desmond, who threw a runner out at the plate in the fifth, then brought in Profar with a fly ball to left.

“It’s about character, a bunch of guys pulling for each other,” Desmond said. “It works for all of us.”

Jake Diekman got his second save in as many chances. Shawn Tolleson (1-2) pitched a scoreless eighth to get the win. Closer Sam Dyson was given the day off after working four of the last six games.

Texas starter Nick Martinez gave up six hits and three runs in 4 1/3 innings. He is replacing Yu Darvish in the starting rotation while Darvish is on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder discomfort.

“I guess I kept us in there long enough for us to get the win,” Nick Martinez said. “It was a tremendous come-from-behind win.”

Kolten Wong’s run-scoring single in the fifth pushed St. Louis’ lead to 2-0. Wong, playing center field for the first time in his career, was making his first start since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Friday.

Stephen Piscotty followed with a bases-loaded single for a 3-0 lead.

Rosenthal was removed after allowing all three runners to reach base. Matheny did not hesitate to pull his closer with a 3-2 lead.

“I was confident out there today, I thought I had good stuff,” Rosenthal said. “But, I’ll be back ready tomorrow and ready to go.”

St. Louis infielder Matt Carpenter reached base three times and extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a double in the seventh.

TRAINERS’ ROOM

Rangers: RHP Tom Wilhelmsen declined an outright assignment to Triple-A Round Rock, making him a free agent.

Cardinals: OF Tommy Pham was recalled from Triple-A Memphis. Pham suffered an oblique injury on opening day, then hit .250 with four home runs and 19 RBIs in 37 games during combined stints in Memphis and Double-A Springfield. Pham struck out as a pinch hitter in the seventh. . OF Randal Grichuk was sent to Memphis to make room for Pham. Grichuk was hitting .206 with eight home runs and 27 RBIs in 62 games.

UP NEXT

LHP Martin Perez (6-4. 3.38) will start for the Rangers against RHP Mike Leake (5-4, 4.08) in the final game of the series Sunday. Perez has won each of his last five starts and is 6-2 with a 2.93 ERA over his last 10 starts. Leake is 5-1 with a 2.66 ERA in his last seven starts.

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