ST. LOUIS — Adam Wainwright lost the lead in the seventh, and then he lost his temper.
The St. Louis Cardinals ace strenuously objected to being pulled before Ian Kinsler's go-ahead hit that helped the Texas Rangers complete a soggy three-game interleague sweep with a 2-1 victory Sunday night.
Hearing manager Mike Matheny's assessment that he'd been "laboring" and that it had been "two pretty stressful innings in a row" got Wainwright even hotter.
"He's wrong," Wainwright said after missing a chance to become the National League's first 11-game winner. "You don't want to call your manager out and I would never do that. Laboring is not what I was doing."
After noting Matheny was in charge and criticizing himself for allowing the tying hit, Wainwright (10-5) had more to say on the issue of fatigue. He gave up an earned run in 6 2-3 innings, ending a string of six straight outings of seven innings or longer during which he'd gone 5-1.
"If you think I'm laboring because I went into deep counts, I went into deep counts all day," Wainwright said. "Made good pitches. That's his opinion."
Wainwright said there was no use trying to persuade Matheny to leave him in the game, because the umpires had already been informed of a double switch. He struck out six and walked one.
"No amount of lobbying ... I wasn't going to stay in that game," Wainwright said. "But I mean, no, I didn't want to come out of that game. I felt I was as strong or stronger at the end than I was in the beginning."
He wouldn't say whether he confronted Matheny in the dugout.
"Even if I did, I would never tell y'all that," Wainwright told reporters. "That's something that stays in here."
The finale of Texas' first visit to Busch Stadium since losing Games 6 and 7 of the 2011 World Series, and first time ever in the regular season, was delayed 2 hours and 59 minutes by heavy rain with less than half of a near-capacity crowd sticking around. The first pitch Saturday night was pushed back 1 hour, 6 minutes and was the third rain delay of the Cardinals' 3-4 homestand.
"Well, the other team's dealing with it, too," Matheny said. "It's odd. You don't want to go through the season like this."
Rookie Nick Tepesch had a resurgent outing for Texas, allowing a run on four hits in 5 2-3 innings after surrendering 11 runs in 8 2-3 innings the previous two starts. Kinsler and David Murphy had two hits apiece for the AL West-leading Rangers, who have won five in a row after losing six straight.
The Cardinals, who have the majors' best record at 47-29, were swept for the first time this season and totaled just seven runs.
"I got good pitches to hit," said second-place hitter Carlos Beltran, who was 0 for 4. "Today, I just couldn't do anything with them. The whole series I got pitches right down the middle."
Leadoff man Matt Carpenter homered to start the sixth, singled and walked for St. Louis.
Robbie Ross (4-1) got the last out of the sixth to strand a pair of runners and Joe Nathan worked around two hits in the ninth to earn his third save of the series and 25th overall in 26 chances.
Pete Kozma, whose fielding error at shortstop set the stage for Kinsler's go-ahead hit, lined into an inning-ending double play.
Wainwright retired the first two batters before Murphy doubled off the base of the right-field wall in the seventh and scored on a single by Leonys Martin to chase the Cardinals ace. Reliever Trevor Rosenthal appeared to get the Cardinals out of the inning still tied but Kozma dropped pinch hitter Jurickson Profar's weak pop fly, and Kinsler followed with the go-ahead hit.
Tepesch, a former Missouri star from suburban Kansas City, held the Cardinals hitless before David Freese singled with one out in the fifth. He struck out three and walked two.
The Rangers had two on with one out in the sixth with the heart of the order coming up after Elvis Andrus drew a full-count walk, but Wainwright got Nelson to pop out to shallow left and Adrian Beltre on a foul ball out.
Both teams have Monday off with the Rangers headed to New York to face the Yankees and the Cardinals opening a two-game set at Houston — but both teams apparently had little interest in a postponement Sunday night.