By SCHUYLER DIXON AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Rougned Odor and Shin-Soo Choo homered in a seven-run second inning, Adrian Sampson got his first career win following opener José Leclerc in his first major league start and the Texas Rangers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-3 on Friday night.
Joey Gallo had both his hits in the highest-scoring inning this season for Texas, which beat the Cardinals in their first game in Arlington since losing Game 5 of the 2011 World Series.
Texas has won all seven regular season games against St. Louis since the dramatic World Series loss that included the Rangers being a strike away from the title twice in Game 6. The Cardinals rallied for an 11-inning victory and won going away in Game 7, both wins at home.
The Rangers won their third straight game, by a combined score of 29-4, coming off a five-game losing streak that matched their longest of the season.
Leclerc struck out two in a perfect first inning. The right-hander was removed as the closer May 1 after two blown saves and twice being replaced in the ninth inning of games Texas went on to win.
Sampson (1-3) gave up seven hits and two runs — one earned — in 5 1/3 innings for his first win in his 16th career appearance over three seasons, beginning with Seattle in 2016.
Miles Mikolas (4-4), facing his former team for the first time, gave up nine hits and seven runs in 1 1/3 innings, the shortest outing in 52 starts for his career. The Cardinals dropped to 4-12 since May 1, when they had the best record in the majors.
The right-hander allowed at least seven runs for the first time since doing it three times in 10 starts for the Rangers in 2014. Mikolas went to Japan the next season and spent three years there. He dropped to 0-5 in Arlington, while his ERA in his old home park rose to 16.71.
Odor’s three-run homer, his sixth and second in as many games , put Texas up 4-0. Choo’s sixth of the season was a two-run shot for a 6-0 lead.
Texas’ big inning ended when Hunter Pence tried to score on a pitch that bounced and hit Yadier Molina in the mask. The catcher scrambled for the loose ball and dived back to the plate as Pence ran past without touching home. Molina made the tag before Pence got a hand on the plate.
After 13 Rangers batted in the second inning, St. Louis relievers retired 18 of the final 20 Texas hitters with 10 strikeouts.
The first two runs for the Cardinals came home without a hit in the third. Harrison Bader scored when Odor mishandled Paul Goldschmidt’s grounder, and Marcell Ozuna had an RBI fielder’s choice. Bader hit a solo homer, his fourth of the season, with two outs in the ninth.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martínez was activated from the injured list after missing the first 44 games of the season because of a strained right shoulder cuff. Martinez was available but didn’t pitch two nights after the last of five rehab appearances.
Rangers: RHP Edinson Volquez said he was waiting for the results of an MRI before proceeding with a throwing plan. The 35-year-old trying to come back from Tommy John elbow surgery in 2017 hasn’t pitched since going on the injured list with a sprained right elbow following a start at the Los Angeles Angels on April 4.
Cardinals: RHP Dakota Hudson (2-3, 4.61 ERA) is set for his first start against an AL West team. Both of his previous appearances against American League clubs were in relief, against Kansas City and Detroit as a rookie last year.
Rangers: Manager Chris Woodward is considering a second straight game with an opener, but indicated he might be leaning toward a traditional starter with Ariel Jurado. The right-hander has eight appearances out of the bullpen this season but made eight starts last year. Jurado has been a starter in the minors.