Rangers' trip ends with more hustle, another comeback

Rangers' trip ends with more hustle, another comeback

ST. LOUIS -- The Rangers' amazing road trip came to an amazing finish on a hot Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium.

They did it one more time, pulling off another comeback victory and earning another one-run win, 5-4, over the Cardinals. Texas has now won six straight and finished 8-2 on its 10-day trip to Seattle, Oakland and St. Louis.

"A nice road trip," manager Jeff Banister said. "To come away 8-2 on this road trip, this part of the season, in the middle of playing 20 straight [without a day off], playing well in all facets, good pitching, timely hitting, good baserunning and defense ... these guys continue to impress us how they go about their jobs and staying energized.

The Rangers are now 20 games above .500 and are 8 1/2 games ahead of the Mariners in the American League West. With a record of 45-25, the Rangers could play .500 ball over their final 92 games and still win three more games than they did last year.

Profar's two-run single

"It was a great road trip," first baseman Mitch Moreland said. "We have played some good teams and have been on top of our game. We played in so many close games and had so many people step up. You can't ask for a road trip to go better than this one."

The Rangers won all three games in St. Louis by one run and are now 16-4 in one-run games on the season. Their second straight comeback win was their 22nd on the season, the most in the AL.

"It was hot out there today," outfielder Ian Desmond said. "We were battling the elements. But we stayed in the game and stayed focused. We're going out there fighting to the end and believing in each other."

The Rangers trailed, 4-3, with two outs in the eighth before pulling off their rally. Once again, as was the case on Saturday, the game turned on one play that involved simply running hard on the bases.

With right-hander Matt Bowman on the mound, Rougned Odor started the rally with a double. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny then elected to intentionally walk Moreland so that Bowman could go after Elvis Andrus, a right-handed hitter.

Bowman got Andrus to hit a slow grounder to shortstop Aledmys Diaz, who tried to get the force at second. Umpire Mark Ripperger called Moreland out, but the Rangers challenged the call and it was overturned.

"I knew the guy had a decent sinker, so I knew that if Elvis hit it to that side, I was going to have to beat it out," Moreland said. "The first baseman was playing closer to the four hole so I could take a bigger lead. I was anticipating."

Banister had Prince Fielder available as a pinch-hitter, but went with Jurickson Profar, who lined a single over Diaz's head to drive home the tying and winning runs.

"The whole game I was ready for that," Profar said. "When you have the pitchers hitting, everybody on the bench has to be ready. Good job by Mitch to give me a chance."

The Rangers didn't need this win. They had already won the series and they had already had a successful road trip. They could have mailed this one in and headed home to Texas.

"They don't play that way and they don't think that way," Banister said. "They forget about yesterday. They play the one in front of them and they stay energized until the end."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.