Rapid Reaction: Rangers 9, Red Sox 1
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers combined a solid pitching performance with an offensive resurrection to secure a dominating 9-1 win Monday over the Boston Red Sox in the first game of this three-game series. Every Rangers batter reached base and eight had at least one hit. And after the news broke before the game that RHP Colby Lewis would be out for the season, Scott Feldman came up with one of his best outings of the year. Some more thoughts on the win:
What it means: The Rangers improved to 57-38, again tying them with the New York Yankees for the best record in baseball, barring the conclusion of the Yankees' game against the Seattle Mariners. The Rangers' AL West lead is now 5 1/2 games over the Los Angeles Angels, with the result of their game against the Kansas City Royals pending, as well. Texas has held outright possession of the AL West lead for the last 105 days and has led by at least four games since June 15.
Offense delivers: The Rangers' struggling offense showed signs of life in the first two innings and broke out in a big way in the third. The Rangers scored four runs in the third inning with the help of some aggressive base running and hits from players who have really struggled of late. Craig Gentry showcased his speed, beating out a throw to first for a leadoff single. Ian Kinsler followed with a walk and the Rangers executed a double steal to put runners on second and third. Elvis Andrus' infield single and a poor throw to first from Dustin Pedroia allowed both runners to score. Josh Hamilton hit an off-speed pitch for an RBI double, and Michael Young brought him home with a single to make it 4-1. Mike Napoli added a two-run homer in the sixth inning, and the Rangers added three more runs to push the cushion to 9-1. The nine runs matched the Rangers' high for a game this month.
Feldman does his part: Feldman put together one of his best starts of the season, allowing only one run on former Ranger Jarrod Saltalamacchia's two-out homer in the second. Feldman finished with just the one run allowed on seven hits and no walks in seven innings. He struck out five and got solid run support, something he hasn't had in previous starts.
Good eye: The majority of Rangers hitters were far more selective at the plate than they have been in some time. The Rangers showed patience up and down the lineup, working Red Sox starter Felix Doubront's pitch count to 67 by the end of the third inning. Anrdus, Kinsler and Nelson Cruz put together multiple long at-bats. Even Josh Hamilton showed patience with an eight-pitch at-bat, although it ended in a strikeout. The Rangers worked three walks and pounded out 11 hits.
Leadoff man leads the way: Kinsler had his best game since the All-Star break, going 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, a stolen base and two runs scored.
Surging Napoli: After a great series in Anaheim, Napoli gave another indication that he may be coming out of his prolonged slump. He launched a 416-foot two-run home run in the sixth inning on a 3-2 count after an eight-pitch at-bat. Napoli has hit three home runs in his last three games, following a 17-game drought prior to his two-home run game July 21 against the Los Angeles Angels. Napoli finished 1-for-4 with a home run and three strikeouts.
Attendance update: The Rangers eclipsed the 2 million mark in attendance in their 46th home date, making 2012 the fastest year for the club to reach that mark. Attendance Monday at Rangers Ballpark was 44,132. Read more here. There are 6,500 seats still available for Tuesday's game and 5,000 left for Wednesday's finale.
Tues. vs. Bos.: LHP Martin Perez vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (8-3, 5.19 ERA), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.
Wed. vs. Bos.: LHP Derek Holland (6-5, 4.84 ERA) vs. RHP Josh Beckett (5-8, 4.53 ERA), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.