Times couldn’t be tougher for Trevor Rosenthal and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Rosenthal blew a save Saturday and the Cardinals matched a season-high with their fourth straight loss, a 4-3 decision against the Texas Rangers before a stunned crowd of 44,375.
Texas trailed 3-0 after seven innings, but scored two two-out runs in the eighth against Seung Hwan Oh and two more runs in the ninth against Rosenthal (2-2), who fell to 12-for-15 in save opportunities.
Rosenthal’s failure to cover first base in time enabled Rougned Odor to reach with a leadoff single that fueled the ninth. Jurickson Profar followed with a single to left before Rosenthal hit Robinson Chirinos, who was trying to sacrifice, to load the bases.
Kevin Siegrist relieved and got one out, but walked Shin-Soo Choo on a 3-2 pitch to force in the tying run. Ian Desmond followed with what proved to be the game-winning sacrifice fly.
“It was a bang-bang play with a fast runner,” Rosenthal said of Odor’s infield hit, which was fielded by first baseman Matt Adams near the outfield grass before Adams fed Rosenthal. “I should have broke over a hair earlier and we would have had him, no problem.
“But I thought I was making pretty effective pitches. I was confident in getting outs, especially in that situation where it was first and second and they were trying to give us an out. I thought we had a good chance to get out of it.”
Rosenthal’s ERA in June has swelled from 2.12 to 4.91. He has allowed five runs (all earned) in his last three games, covering two innings. He said he remains confident.
“I definitely wanted to stay out there,” he said. “You’ve got to respect our manager (Mike Matheny) for trying to give us our best option to win. It just didn’t work out today.”
Matheny, asked where Rosenthal’s confidence level is, replied: “Lower than it ought to be.”
“Look at what happened there,” Matheny said. “Obviously, it was a self-induced issues with the first one by not covering. There’s no excuse; he knows that. Then you’ve got a jam shot (Profar’s bloop single to left) and he missed a spot (to Chirinos) because he was trying to make a pitch inside. He wasn’t making as bad of pitches as the mess he was in.”
Offense falters again
Entering their current five-game homestand, the Cardinals (35-32) been 26-0 when leading after seven innings and 33-0 when ahead after eight innings. Now they’re 26-2 and 33-1.
“It stings right now, that’s for sure,” Matheny said. “Over the course of the season, you go back and remember games that you felt you should have put away. This is one.”
And while Rosenthal absorbed much of the blame Saturday, it was the fourth consecutive game in which the Cardinals’ offense didn’t fire.
St. Louis had seven hits, five of them singles. After scoring two runs in the fifth to grab a 3-0 lead, the Cardinals lost Kolten Wong at the plate as he tried to score on Adams’ fly to center. Desmond made a routine catch and a strong throw that easily nailed Wong.
“He was out considerably. It was a good throw,” Matheny said. “You’ve got to take a chance there, though. It was the right play to send Kolten in that situation.”
During their four-game losing streak, the Cardinals have scored six runs and are batting an abysmal .184 (23-for-125). They haven’t homered in their last three games.
“It’s not tough times,” Wong said. “We had three runs today. The Cardinals are not really known for scoring millions of runs. These (Texas) guys are playing really well. They’re capitalizing on things that we’re not doing.”
Carlos Martinez was in line for the victory until the ninth. Martinez threw seven shutout innings and allowed four hits, all singles. He walked one and struck out four and escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first by getting Prince Fielder on a 6-3 double play.
Martinez, who lowered his ERA from 3.46 to 3.17, has surrendered four runs in his last 29 1/3 innings since May 30.
“In the first inning, I felt a little bit down,” Martinez said through a translator. “In the second inning, I really felt like I was getting my rhythm back. I was able to get my usual mechanics back in the second inning and was able to keep it going for the rest of the game.
“I listen to my coaches, listen to Yadi (Molina), keep a positive mind and keep my focus on home plate. In the beginning of the season, I felt like I was going through a slump. Now I finally feel like I’m getting back. I feel very mature. My mind is on the game and I feel ready to keep on going with this positive streak.”
Rangers 4, Cardinals 3
Texas erased a 3-0 deficit by scoring two runs in the eighth against Seung Hwan Oh and two more in the ninth against Trevor Rosenthal to defeat St. Louis for the second straight game and extend the Cardinals’ losing streak to four.
By the numbers
The Cardinals have six runs in their last four games. ... St. Louis had seven hits, one apiece by Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, Matt Holliday, Stephen Piscotty, Jhonny Peralta, Yadier Molina and Carlos Martinez. ... Molina, Wong and Piscotty drove in the Cardinals’ runs. ... Martinez threw seven scoreless innings, allowing four hits, walking one and striking out four. ... Jake Diekman had his second save for Texas.
Mike Leake (5-4, 4.08 ERA) vs. Martin Perez (6-4, 3.38 ERA), 1:15 p.m. Sunday