ARLINGTON, Texas -- With the Boston Red Sox desperately in need of another solid pitching performance by Felix Doubront, the left-hander struggled in what proved to be one of his worst starts of the season as the Texas Rangers won 9-1 Monday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Doubront has been the Sox’s most consistent starter, but he struggled and lasted only five innings (plus two batters in the sixth) and allowed six runs on eight hits with three walks and six strikeouts. The earned runs, and his 111 pitches (67 strikes), both matched career highs.
The Red Sox are riding a four-game losing skid at a crucial time with the club facing the Rangers in this series and the Yankees in New York this coming weekend.
Prior to Monday’s start, Doubront was 5-0 with a 2.76 ERA in eight starts following a Red Sox loss this season. Boston was 7-1 in those eight games.
Texas scored four runs in the third and another five in the sixth en route to victory. Rangers starter Scott Feldman worked seven solid innings and allowed only one run on seven hits with no walks and five strikeouts. It was only his 11th start of the season, with his last coming on July 4 against the Chicago White Sox.
Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia provided a solo home run in the top of the second for Boston’s lone run.
Saltalamacchia narrowly hit his second round-tripper of the night in the top of the seventh, but his drive to deep center hit the top of the wall at the 404-foot mark and bounced back onto the field for a double. The play was reviewed, but the ball clearly did not go over the wall.
GREAT COMPANY: The home run Doubront allowed in the top of the sixth came off the bat of Rangers catcher Mike Napoli, his 15th of the season. Napoli has gone deep in each of his last four games against the Red Sox. According to ESPN Stats and Info, it’s the second time he’s had such a streak against Boston. The only other players with matching streaks against the Red Sox: Lou Gehrig (1931) and Harmon Killebrew (1969).
HOMECOMING WEB GEM: Red Sox rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks grew up a hit-and-run away from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and Monday night was the first time he’s played in front of his hometown crowd here as a major leaguer. It didn’t take him long to impress as he turned in the defensive play of the game in the bottom of the first. With the Rangers’ Ian Kinsler on first after a leadoff single, Elvis Andrus drilled a line drive to the left side of the infield. Middlebrooks made a leaping catch and was able to double up Kinsler.
Middlebrooks also provided some offense in the top of the second. After Saltalamacchia hit his 19th homer of the season, Middlebrooks followed with an opposite-field double to right. Texas right fielder Nelson Cruz made the initial catch, but the ball popped out of his glove after he slammed into the wall, giving Middlebrooks a two-base hit. He finished the night 2-for-4.
UP NEXT: The Red Sox send Clay Buchholz (8-3, 5.19 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday. The Rangers' scheduled starter was Colby Lewis (6-6, 3.43 ERA), but the Texas right-hander has a torn flexor muscle in his elbow that will require surgery and will miss the rest of the season. The Rangers are expected to call up a pitcher from the minors for Tuesday's start. Buchholz is 1-3 with a 3.91 ERA in four career starts against the Rangers.