Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Red Sox 3
May, 5, 2013
By Randy Jennings, Special to ESPNBoston.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Red Sox got away with an intentional walk to get to Adrian Beltre once on Sunday.
But it backfired when the Sox tried it a second time in the bottom of the ninth.
Beltre lined an RBI single to right field off Sox reliever Clayton Mortensen, scoring Elvis Andrus for a 4-3 Rangers victory.
For the first time this season, the Red Sox failed to win after scoring first, something they had done the previous 13 times.
Mortensen retired the first two Rangers in the ninth. Then Andrus singled to center and moved up to second on a wild pitch. Lance Berkman was intentionally walked to get to Beltre. The move had worked in the seventh when Beltre grounded back to the mound to end the inning with runners at first and third, but Beltre delivered the game winner in the ninth.
The Red Sox head back home having been swept in the three-game series between two division leaders.
Duel in the sun: Score Sunday's highly anticipated Jon Lester-Yu Darvish pitching matchup a 3-3 draw, with style points going to Darvish for 14 strikeouts. Neither was around at the finish or had a stake in the decision.
Aside from the strikeout total (Lester had seven), the pitchers enjoyed remarkably similar afternoons, statistically speaking.
Each allowed a pair of home runs, accounting for three runs. Darvish completed seven innings, one more than Lester, allowing four hits and walking two. Lester went six innings and was touched for five hits, walked three.
Each had a high pitch total for early May. Darvish threw 127 pitches, 78 for strikes. Lester threw 115 with 70 for strikes.
Lester kept the Rangers off balance with a breaking ball that consistently found the outside corner to right-handed hitters.
Darvish dazzled with his wide range of speed, from 97 mph to 53 against Mike Napoli in one at-bat.
Both dugouts had to be pleased with what they got out of their starter on this day.
Early strike: David Ortiz immediately thrust himself into the spotlight in a game that was supposed to be all about the pitching matchup.
The Red Sox designated hitter sent a 3-1 pitch from Darvish soaring into the right-field seats, a majestic shot that even he couldn't help but take a moment at the plate to admire.
With one swing, Ortiz produced two runs, or one more than the Sox scored in the first 18 innings of the series.
As a byproduct of the homer, Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 25 games, the longest active streak in the majors. He's hit safely in each of his 13 games since coming off the disabled list on April 20.
Good production: Four of David Ross' nine hits this season have been home runs. According to ESPN's Home Run Tracker, The latest traveled 424 feet against Darvish in the second inning, increasing the Red Sox lead to 3-0.
Ross pulled his homer down the left-field line and it came to rest in the club-level seats. He became only the 18th player to do so since Rangers Ballpark opened in 1994. Among the 18 that have found the club level with homers, Ross becomes only the fourth visiting player. The others: Mark McGwire, Evan Longoria and Mark Trumbo.
Finally a hit: The first-inning tap off the bat of Dustin Pedroia traveled no further than 30 feet from home plate, but the infield hit ended Pedroia's 0-for-14 slump. And it looked so much bigger when Ortiz followed with his home run.
But Pedroia's infield hit didn't lead to a big afternoon. He struck out twice and drew a walk to finish 1-for-3.