ST. LOUIS — Three runs down with none out in the first, Derek Holland and the Texas Rangers were in trouble. The lefty participated in the comeback by keeping the bat on his shoulder, and he found his stride on the mound, too.
Holland coaxed a two-out walk off Tyler Lyons to fuel a four-run second-inning rally that put the Rangers back in business, and the Rangers went on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 on Friday night.
"Some of the guys were giving me a hard time with me and my swing," said Holland, who's 0 for 5 at the plate this season but with a pair of walks. "The main thing is to go out there and try to see as many pitches as you possibly can, and try to get his pitch count up.
"Lucky for me, I got the walk," he added.
Nelson Cruz snapped a ninth-inning tie with a two-run single through a drawn-in infield in the opener of a series between 2011 World Series opponents.
Neal Cotts (4-1) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth when Jon Jay tapped out on a full-count pitch and Joe Nathan finished for his 23rd save in 24 chances. All of Cotts' decisions have come this month.
Left fielder David Murphy robbed Carlos Beltran of an extra-base hit and saved a run with a running catch at the wall in left-center to end it.
Allen Craig had two hits and two RBIs, plus he made a handful of outstanding plays at first base for the Cardinals. Joe Kelly worked five scoreless innings after Lyons was yanked in the second.
The opener of the three-game series drew a sellout of 45,228 to Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals closed out the '11 Series with wild wins in Games 6 and 7.
"For me it's just a game on our schedule and you have to play it," Rangers leadoff man Ian Kinsler said. "Obviously, there are memories of the stadium and memories of the field and stuff like that, but this is a different year and we're trying to win a series and continue to play good baseball."
This game had some of the drama that made that series one of the best in recent memory.
Rookie Trevor Rosenthal (1-1) struck out two in a perfect eighth but gave up two hits, botched a sacrifice attempt for an error and threw a wild pitch to the backstop in the ninth. Rosenthal's throw to second baseman Matt Carpenter covering first was off-line and off-speed and Andrus knocked the ball free.
"It looked like his glove, jersey and everything hit at the same time," manager Mike Matheny said.
Both managers insisted the matchup between 2011 World Series opponents was just another series, with Matheny noting both rosters have changed a lot and the Rangers' Ron Washington saying he's been over the gut-wrenching feeling left by those two final losses in St. Louis since the start of spring training in 2012.
Holland struck out the side in the seventh and retired the final 12 in order. Holland allowed three doubles and a walk to the first four hitters in the Cardinals' three-run first but gave up few hard-hit balls thereafter.
Andrus was in a 2-for-25 slump before his two-run single in the second chased Lyons, who lasted 1 2-3 innings. A.J. Pierzynski and Mitch Moreland opened the innings with doubles for a run and Nelson Cruz greeted Kelly with an RBI single to cap a four-run rally that put the Rangers up 4-3.
After winning his first two career starts for a rotation hit hard by injuries, Lyons is 0-3 with an 8.19 ERA in four outings.
"It just kind of snowballed on him a little bit," Matheny said. "He had trouble getting it in the zone and when he brought it back in he was already in favorable counts for the hitters."
|Houston||12/5/13 7:25 PM|
|Minnesota||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Kansas City||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Buffalo||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Miami||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Detroit||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Indianapolis||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Cleveland||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Oakland||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Atlanta||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Tennessee||12/8/13 3:05 PM|
|St. Louis||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|Seattle||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|NY Giants||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|Carolina||12/8/13 7:30 PM|
|Dallas||12/9/13 7:40 PM|
|LA Clippers||90||4th Qtr 2:35|
|Dallas||71||3rd Qtr 0:55|
|Detroit||73||3rd Qtr 2:30|
|Phoenix||66||3rd Qtr 1:44|
|Indiana||25||2nd Qtr 7:32|
|San Antonio||8:30 PM|
|Oklahoma City||9:00 PM|
|Montreal||3||2nd OT :00|
|Philadelphia||2||2nd Prd 1:10|
|West Va Tech||80||FINAL|
|William & Mary||60|
|Central Conn St||65|
|Mount St Marys||70|
|Cleveland State||79||3rd OT 0:16|
|Central Penn College||72||FINAL|
|Huston-Tillotson||54||2nd Half 3:47|
|SMU||65||2nd Half 2:45|
|Tenn-Martin||74||2nd Half 6:07|
|North Florida||37||2nd Half 7:11|
|Cedarville||54||2nd Half 1:46|
|Saint Josephs||65||2nd Half 3:25|
|Penn||39||2nd Half 10:49|
|Morehead State||52||2nd Half 6:17|
|Houston||53||2nd Half 3:30|
|St Edwards||64||2nd Half 2:21|
|East Tenn St||62||2nd Half 6:37|
|Eastern Ill||31||2nd Half 1:09|
|Evansville||57||2nd Half 3:42|
|Dakota State||61||2nd Half 0:50|
|South Dakota St||88|
|Chicago State||46||2nd Half 6:07|
|Texas Southern||56||2nd Half 6:32|
|Cameron||47||2nd Half 5:05|
|Rice||43||2nd Half 10:30|
|New Mexico||28||1st Half 5:40|
|New Mexico St||23|
|North Carolina||30||1st Half 5:45|
|Boston College||28||1st Half 3:55|
|Miami-Florida||2||1st Half 14:34|
|Cal State Fullerton||9:00 PM|
|(19) Louisville||12/5/13 6:30 PM|
|Bowling Green||12/6/13 7:00 PM|
|(16) Northern Ill|
|(15) UCF||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|(18) Oklahoma||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|(6) Oklahoma State|
|Marshall||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|Memphis||12/7/13 12:00 PM|
|(23) Texas||12/7/13 2:30 PM|
|(5) Missouri||12/7/13 3:00 PM|
|So Florida||12/7/13 6:30 PM|
|(7) Stanford||12/7/13 6:45 PM|
|(11) Arizona State|
|(20) Duke||12/7/13 7:00 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|Louisiana||12/7/13 7:00 PM|
|(2) Ohio State||12/7/13 7:17 PM|
|(10) Michigan State|
|Utah State||12/7/13 9:00 PM|
|(24) Fresno State|
|(18) North Carolina||75|
|Fla Gulf Coast||60|
|SE Missouri St||72|
|(4) Notre Dame||77||FINAL|
|(10) Penn State||67|
|Stephen F Austin||42||2nd Half 3:59|
|Ark-Little Rock||22||2nd Half 4:36|
|Northern Iowa||51||2nd Half 3:36|
|(20) Iowa State||78|
|Arkansas||49||2nd Half 10:18|
|SE Louisiana||39||2nd Half 2:42|
|Washington||59||2nd Half 3:34|
|Ark-Pine Bluff||40||2nd Half 4:05|
|Eastern Michigan||76||2nd Half 3:31|
|Florida||86||2nd Half 6:05|
|Louisiana||37||2nd Half 10:00|
|Oral Roberts||60||2nd Half 2:05|
|Tenn-Martin||70||2nd Half 3:31|
|North Texas||41||2nd Half 20:00|
|Oregon||41||1st Half 3:49|
|Denver||27||1st Half 1:31|
|(11) Colorado||21||1st Half 0:32|
|San Diego||9:00 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton|