Boston Red Sox caught looking in loss to Texas Rangers


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Boston Red Sox comeback hopes were fanned by a two-run home run by Hanley Ramirez in the eighth inning that brought them within a run.

But momentum was fleeting when the next batter, Mike Napoli, was called out on strikes by Todd Tichenor.

First Napoli and then manager John Farrell were both ejected by the home plate umpire.

End of comeback. The Texas Rangers tacked on two insurance runs in the bottom of the inning for a 7-4 victory Friday night at Globe Life Park.

The Red Sox’s dispute of Tichenor’s strike zone became obvious in the seventh when Dustin Pedroia took strike three for the final out of the seventh. Farrell wedged between Pedroia and Tichenor to keep his second baseman’s argument from escalating.

Napoli was previously called out on strikes in the second inning (four Sox took strike three). In the eighth, he showed displeasure with the call but was not ejected until returning to the dugout.

Farrell charged from the dugout, and after a short exchange also got the boot.

In his news conference after the game, Farrell indicated the umpire’s strike zone was too wide on several calls.

“The catcher was set up on the line of the left-handed batter's box on a number of pitches and got the call,’’ the manager said.

Tough loss: With the exception of two pitches to Josh Hamilton, Sox starter Steven Wright pitched admirably.

In 5 2/3 innings, the knuckleballer allowed five hits and three runs. Hamilton accounted for two runs with solo home runs in the second and fourth innings.

“Both of the pitches to Hamilton were up where he likes it and moving to the middle of the plate,’’ Wright said.

A third Texas run scored on a wild pitch.

Wright took the loss, falling to 2-2 for the season.

“He kept things under control,’’ Farrell said. “I thought he had good action on the knuckleball. He gave us a chance to win the game.’’

Bullpen woes: Relievers Alexi Ogando, Craig Breslow and Matt Barnes were all touched for run-scoring hits when the Rangers struck for a pair of two-run innings in the seventh and eighth.

The damage in both innings was done with two outs. The eighth-inning runs charged to Breslow were particularly painful. The Sox turned a double play to start the frame.

But a walk to Hamilton and a single by Mitch Moreland prompted a call to right-handed reliever Barnes. Robinson Chirinos, batting .194 when the game began, doubled in two insurance runs.

“Hanley hit the home run that got us close,’’ Farrell said. “In the end, we weren’t able to hold them down.’’