BOSTON -- In continuing with their recent trend of strong pitching accompanied by a lack of scoring runs, the Boston Red Sox wasted a quality outing by Joe Kelly Wednesday night, losing to the Texas Rangers 2-1.
How it happened: Making his first career major league start, Rangers right-hander Phil Klein kept Boston's offense in check during his time on the mound. Klein scattered five hits in 5 1/3 innings pitched, keeping Boston off the board until the bottom of the fifth when Xander Bogaerts lined a no-doubt home run well over the Green Monster for the Red Sox's only run of the game. The home run was Bogaerts' second of the season, his first coming April 25 in Baltimore.
The Red Sox threatened to score again in the sixth after a leadoff walk and error committed by Adrian Beltre put two runners on with one out. The Rangers brought in left-hander Alex Claudio to face Daniel Nava, a move Red Sox manager John Farrell countered by bringing in Shane Victorino to pinch-hit.
Victorino worked Claudio for 10 pitches, flailing to foul off a 67 mph slider and 69 mph changeup along the way, before singling to load the bases. Brock Holt struck out swinging, followed by Bogaerts lining out to center to end the threat. The Red Sox are now 0 for their last 19 with the bases-loaded.
Hanley Ramirez lined a ball up the middle with two on and two out in the seventh, but the Rangers infield defense was shifted perfectly to rob him of a hit.
The Sox had a chance to tie things in the ninth as Mookie Betts doubled with one out, but Dustin Pedroia lined out to left and Ramirez, following an intentional walk to David Ortiz, grounded into a force out at second. Shawn Tolleson earned the save for the Rangers, the first of his four-year career.
Overall, the Red Sox left 12 men on base in the loss, one that their starter, Kelly (1-3), didn't deserve. He went seven innings, working around seven hits and striking out seven for his second straight quality start. Sox starters now have quality outings in seven of their last 10 games as the staff continues to put their horrid start to the season behind them.
In that same stretch, the team's offense has been held to two runs or less six times.
Hanley being Hanley: Of all the gaffes Ramirez has made in left field this season, Wednesday may have featured his most head-scratching feat. One batter after making a great leaping catch to rob Elvis Andrus of a hit, Ramirez looked to play a double by Leonys Martin high off the wall. After catching the ball off a bounce, Ramirez lost his grip on it during his throw into the infield. The ball fell at Ramirez's feet, allowing Martin, who never stopped running, to reach third on the error.
New Napoli: A day after finding success (2-for-4, home run Tuesday) with a change at the plate pointed out to him by Dustin Pedroia on the team's flight back from Seattle, Mike Napoli had another multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 again.