Cruz loving St. Louis: Things are looking up for Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz in St. Louis, where he again was in the middle of things Saturday night. Cruz gave the Rangers a 4-2 lead with a two-run home run to the opposite field in the top of the third. It was Cruz's 19th long ball of the season. Cruz has seven RBIs in four games since manager Ron Washington put him in the No. 3 spot in the lineup on Wednesday for the first time since September 2010. Cruz has 10 hits (three of them for home runs) and 11 RBIs in his last six games.
AJP homers again: Catcher A.J. Pierzynski continued to swing a hot bat, again doing so against a quality pitcher. Pierzynski crushed a two-run home run in the top of the second off of Shelby Miller to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. It was Pierzynski's seventh homer of the season.
Perez stands out: The Rangers' talented 22-year old left-hander Martin Perez tossed a gem Saturday night, allowing two runs in seven innings. Perez kept his pitch count down and dominated in his final innings, retiring the last 10 batters he faced. Perez needed only 82 pitches and had three strikeouts and only one walk.
Nathan closes it out: Rangers closer Joe Nathan isn't scared of the big moments. Nathan had to navigate his way through Allen Craig, Yadier Molina and David Freese in the bottom of the ninth and got a strikeout and two popups to end the game. The key out came against Craig, who had battled back from down 0-2 in the count to work it full before Nathan was able to strike him out with a devastating slider.
Scheppers gets out of jam: Rangers manager Ron Washington went to setup man Tanner Scheppers in the bottom of the eighth, even though Perez had been cruising and had a low pitch count. Scheppers put the tying runs on base with two outs, then got Matt Holliday to ground into a 5-4-3 double play to keep the Rangers' lead at 4-2.
Up next: The Rangers and St. Louis get set for a Sunday Night Baseball matchup as rookie right-hander Nick Tepesch (3-6, 4.84) takes on Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright (10-4, 2.37) at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN-FM 103.3 and 1540-AM.