Rougned Odor and Shin-Soo Choo each homered during a seven-run second inning Friday night and Adrian Sampson earned his first major league victory by tossing 5 1/3 solid innings of relief as the host Texas Rangers cruised past the St. Louis Cardinals 7-3 in the opener of a three-game series.
The Rangers have won three straight. The Cardinals have lost three straight and are 4-12 since May 1.
Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas (4-4), who spent the 2014 season with the Rangers, faced the minimum in the first inning before Texas busted out in the second, when nine of its first 10 batters reached against Mikolas.
Joey Gallo led off with a double before Asdrubal Cabrera was hit by a pitch. Logan Forsythe followed with an RBI single, after which Odor launched a three-run homer.
Mikolas briefly stopped the flurry by striking out Ronald Guzman, but Jeff Mathis singled and Choo followed with a two-run homer to extend the Rangers' lead to 6-0. Willie Calhoun doubled and Hunter Pence reached on an infield single before Gallo finally chased Mikolas with an RBI single.
That was more than enough for Sampson (1-3), who came in after "opener" Jose Leclerc tossed a scoreless first inning. Sampson, who entered Friday 0-7 with a 5.09 ERA in 15 appearances (10 starts) dating back to 2016, allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits and one walk while striking out one.
Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna each hit into run-scoring fielder's choices in the third for the Cardinals, who received a ninth-inning solo homer from Harrison Bader (3-for-4).
Mikolas allowed the seven runs on nine hits and no walks while striking out two. The 1 1/3-inning stint was the shortest of his 52 big league starts.
The game was the first between the Rangers and Cardinals in Texas since Game 5 of the 2011 World Series. Texas won that game 4-2 to move within one win of its first championship, but St. Louis won the final two games.
--Field Level Media