ST. LOUIS (AP) - Nelson Cruz got the decisive hit for the second straight game with a two-run homer in the third inning and Martin Perez prevailed in a matchup of rookie starters Saturday night as the Texas Rangers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2.
Shelby Miller (8-5) allowed two homers for the second time in three starts and didn't make it out of the sixth against the team the Cardinals beat in the 2011 World Series making its first regular-season visit to Busch Stadium.
A.J. Pierzynski also hit a two-run homer for Texas, which goes for a three-game sweep tonight with Nick Tepesch (3-6, 4.84) facing Adam Wainwright (10-4, 2.37). The first two games have been sellouts and the finale was supposed to be a matchup of aces, but the Rangers are saving Yu Darvish for the Yankees on Tuesday in New York.
Perez (1-1) allowed a run in each of the first two innings but gave up just two hits the next five innings and retired the last 10.
Though perhaps the Rangers' top prospect, Perez entered 1-5 with a 5.40 ERA with seven starts.
Joe Nathan wrapped up a game that had all of the scoring in the first three innings with a perfect ninth for his 24th save in 25 chances.
The start of the game was delayed by rain 66 minutes. It was the second such delay of the week.
Earlier Saturday, manager Ron Washington said he felt good about Cruz's tiebreaking two-run single in the ninth Friday because the Rangers need wins, and not because Cruz needed redemption. The Rangers were an out away from taking the 2011 Series when Cruz misplayed David Freese's game-tying triple in Game 6.
The Cardinals have opened the scoring both games and took the lead on Allen Craig's RBI single in the first with Carlos Beltran just beating the relay to the plate from center fielder Leonys Martin.