After a brief slump, Hank Blalock seems to have regained his batting stroke.
Blalock was mired in a 4-for-17 slump with no home runs before breaking out during interleague play. The All-Star third baseman is batting .539 (7-for-13) with a home run and six RBIs over the last three games.
Blalock hit his second career grand slam as the Rangers beat the Cardinals 7-2 on Saturday.
Starter Ryan Drese pitched seven strong innings to win for the first time in more than a month. Drese last victory came over Tampa Bay on May 5. Texas’ offense hasn’t really helped the right-hander, scoring just 18 runs in the six starts since his last victory.
Sunday’s starter R.A. Dickey is also looking for his first win in over a month. Dickey began the season 4-1, but has not won a game since beating the Red Sox on May 2.
Run support has been the least of Dickey’s problems. The right-hander is 0-4 with a 6.46 ERA over his last seven starts. He has served up six home runs over that span.
The Cardinals will play the series finale without manager Tony La Russa in the dugout.
La Russa left Saturday’s game before it ended to attend his daughter’s college graduation Sunday in California. He’ll also miss Sunday’s game and will return when the Cardinals play Oakland on Tuesday.
Third-base coach Jose Oquendo and pitching coach Dave Duncan will co-manage the team in La Russa’s absence.
St. Louis will be finishing up a seven-game road trip. The Cardinals have the majors best road record despite going just 3-3 on the trip so far.
St. Louis begins a nine-game home stand against the Athletics, Reds and Cubs on Tuesday.