Sitting on the bench, Jurickson Profar knew he might be called on to hit for the Texas Rangers.
In the big moment, Profar came through when he hit a two-run, bases-loaded pinch-hit single in the eighth, lifting the Rangers to a 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
It was Profar's first pinch-hit at-bat this season.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"The whole game, I was ready for that," Profar said. "I was just sitting there but everybody on the bench has got to be ready to hit. I was just looking for my pitch. It was a pitch in the zone so I could drive it."
With two outs in the eighth, Rougned Odor doubled off reliever Matt Bowman (1-2). He gave an intentional walk to Mitch Moreland. Elvis Andrus grounded to short and Moreland was called out at second. After a challenge, the call was overturned.
"That was a good job by Mitch beating out the ground ball and giving me a chance," Profar said.
Profar hit for reliever Tony Barnette. Batting left-handed, Profar lined a 2-2 pitch into left to drive in the winning runs.
The overturned call did not upset Bowman.
"I knew it was close. As a pitcher, you always want to assume he's safe," Bowman said. "I made sure I was focused. I liked the pitch selection to (Profar). He hit it and you tip your cap."
Texas manager Jeff Bannister said the spot for right for Profar.
"It felt like it was a situation where he was the best guy we could put up there and to be able to control the at-bat," Bannister said. "He hunted a good pitch to hit. I think with all factors, playing regularly, we like how he swings the bat from the left side, bases loaded, he's going to control that at-bat and he was the guy for us in that spot."
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said he was staying with Bowman.
"Bowman was throwing good. His ball was really moving well. With Profar in the pinch-hitting spot, I liked Bowman there to get a ground ball," Matheny said. "He was making good pitches. He just got beat."
Texas swept the three-game series and has won six in a row and eight of its last nine games. The Rangers are 14-4 this month and they improved to an MLB best 16-4 in one-run games this season.
St. Louis has lost five in a row — all at home. It was the first winless homestand of at least two series for St. Louis since 1983.
Barnette (4-2) pitched 1 2/3 innings in scoreless relief for the win. Sam Dyson pitched the ninth for his 13th save in 14 chances.
St. Louis scored two runs in the sixth to chase starter Martin Perez and take a 4-3 lead. Matt Holliday hit a one-out homer that hit the top the fence in the right-field corner and caromed over. Barnette later entered with the bases loaded. He struck out pinch-hitter Matt Adams but walked Eric Fryer to force in a run.
Normar Mazara led off the sixth with a solo homer for the Rangers for a short-lived lead.
Moreland's two-out homer in the fourth off St. Louis starter Mike Leake tied the game at 2-2. His 456-foot home run tied him with Jay Bruce and Paul Goldschmidt for longest homer at Busch by an opposing player.
St. Louis took a 2-1 lead in the third on a one-out, bases loaded sacrifice fly by Holliday.
Texas scored in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Mazara to drive in Ian Desmond. Desmond reached base on a fielder's choice, stole second and then went to third on an error by rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz, who mishandled the throw from home. It was the 14th error this season for Diaz.
The Cardinals tied it in the second on a leadoff home run by Stephen Piscotty.
Looking For a Hit: Texas starter Perez struck out in the fifth. He has eight strikeouts in nine at-bats in the major leagues.
Day Off: St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina got the day off. Fryer made his seventh start of the season at catcher. Molina is eight hits shy of 1,500 for his career.
Honoring Father's Day: The birds on the bat were blue for the Cardinals, who also sported light blue numbers on their uniforms and blue caps in honor of Father's Day. The uniforms of all MLB teams incorporated light blue into each team's logo, much like the special pink caps and jersey trim used for Mother's Day games.
Trainer's Room: Catcher Robinson Chirinos, who was hit on the right hand by Trevor Rosenthal in the ninth inning Saturday and came out of the game in a double switch, was in the starting lineup, hitting eighth.
Up Next: Texas goes home to face Baltimore in a makeup game for the game postponed April 17. Derek Holland (5-5, 5.14) will square off against Kevin Gausman (0-4, 4.14). In his last six starts against Baltimore since 2011, Holland is 5-1 with a 1.90 ERA.