Mar 8, 2013; Melbourne, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Tyler Lyons (70) throws against the Washington Nationals during the bottom of the fifth inning of a spring training game at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
(Sports Network) - The last time the Texas Rangers visited Busch Stadium, the St. Louis Cardinals celebrated another championship in Game 7 of the 2011 World Series.
The Rangers are back in the Gateway City and will begin a three-game set Friday night. They will also visit the New York Yankees on this six-game trip after pulling within one game of the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics by taking three of four from their division foes.
Texas recorded a 4-3 win on Thursday thanks to a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Ian Kinsler drove in two runners with a single for the Rangers, winners in three of four games since losing six straight.
"It was a well-fought game," Kinsler said. "Both managers made a lot of moves. To come out on top of a game like that, especially against these guys, is big."
Geovany Soto drove in a run for the Rangers and starting pitcher Josh Lindblom did not record a decision after he permitted just two runs in five innings. Tanner Scheppers threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief for the win and Joe Nathan nailed down his 22nd save in the ninth.
Derek Holland looks to get back on track when he takes the mound for Texas on Friday. Holland is 0-2 in his last three starts and took the loss in Sunday's 7-2 decision versus Toronto. He allowed four runs and 10 hits in six innings to fall to 5-4 with a 3.30 ERA in 14 starts.
Holland has given up 10 runs during his winless slide and has never faced St. Louis in the regular season. The left-hander took the victory in Game 4 of the 2011 World Series.
St. Louis has won nine of its last 14 games and took three of four meetings with the Chicago Cubs. The Cardinals won the series with Thursday's 6-1 win, as Lance Lynn improved to 10-1 by holding the Cubs to one run in six innings.
Matt Holliday went 2-for-4 with a solo homer and two RBI, while Allen Craig added a two-run pinch-hit single in the win.
"It was an opportunity to push through right there," Craig said of his hit during a four-run sixth inning. "You just try to get a base hit and keep the ball rolling."
The Cardinals are 3 1/2 games ahead of Cincinnati in the NL Central standings and will put their 22-13 home record on the line Friday.
Rookie Tyler Lyons takes the mound for St. Louis in the opener of this series and is 2-3 with a 4.65 ERA in five starts. He is mired in a three-game losing streak and was pounded for six runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 7-2 loss at Miami on Sunday.
Lyons, a left-hander, had won two in a row to start his major league career and will face Texas for the first time. He has given up 14 runs in his winless drought.
St. Louis and Texas are meeting in the regular season for the first time since the Cardinals took two of three in Arlington back in 2004.
The Sports Network