Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 2, Rangers 1
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers couldn't take advantage of opportunities with runners in scoring position and Joe Nathan gave up the winning run in the top of the ninth as the Red Sox beat the Rangers, 2-1.
What it means: The first two games of the series are split with the rubber match set for Wednesday. The Rangers' lead in the AL West drops to 4.5 games pending the outcome of the Los Angeles Angels-Kansas City Royals game.
Walks hurt Nathan: Closer Joe Nathan came in with five walks in 38 1/3 innings, but issued consecutive free passes to Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia with two outs and then gave up a single on a 3-2 pitch to Mike Aviles, who hit a looping ball just over the glove of Elvis Andrus to score Nava with the go-ahead run in a tie game. ... Nathan has given up at least one run in each of his last four outings. ... It's the first time all season he's allowed two walks in one outing.
First-pitch outs: All three outs for the Rangers in the ninth inning came on first pitches as Nelson Cruz grounded to short and David Murphy and Craig Gentry popped up. Mike Napoli walked prior to Gentry's at-bat.
Successful spot start: As the rotation is currently set up, Tuesday's start was a one-shot deal for Martin Perez with Scott Feldman slated to pitch on Monday in place of Colby Lewis. If this is it for Perez in terms of a start in the big leagues for now, he should gain some confidence. Perez gave up one run on five hits in six innings on Tuesday with two walks and one strikeout. He also had a balk. He pitched out of some trouble and threw 98 pitches (63 strikes) in those six innings. ... Perez is a name that could surface in trade deadline talks and he certainly didn't hurt his value on Tuesday.
Struggles with RISP: The Rangers managed to get runners in scoring position in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings and went 0-for-5. They did score a run on a ground ball, but couldn't do more than that when given the chance.
Beltre hit, taken out: Third baseman Adrian Beltre was hit by a Vicente Padilla 92-mph fastball on the helmet in the eighth inning. The ball went pretty high into the air after hitting Beltre's helmet and after athletic trainer Jamie Reed looked him, Beltre came out of the game. Initial exams were "normal." The Rangers shifted the infield to put Brandon Snyder at third, Michael Young at second, Mike Napoli at first and Yorvit Torrealba behind the plate.
Big wild pitch: After Elvis Andrus doubled with one out in the sixth, Clay Buchholz threw a wild pitch to get him to third with one out and Josh Hamilton at the plate. Hamilton was jammed, but got enough on the ground ball to get it past Buchholz to score Andrus, who got a nice break from third. Hamilton came into the dugout and threw his battling helmet against the wall in the tunnel in frustration, but his grounder was enough score the tying run for his 81st RBI of the season.
Murphy likes matchup: Rangers outfielder David Murphy came into the game batting .667 (6-for-9) off Clay Buchholz in his career. He kept that going on Monday with a single in the third and a double in the fifth. He also walked in the seventh.
Defensive miscue: It was scored as a double, but Murphy initially broke in and then hustled back toward the wall as the ball from Kelly Shoppach took off. It went off Murphy's glove at the wall and dropped, allowing Cody Ross to score with two outs for the first run of the game.
Kinsler ejected: Second baseman Ian Kinsler had a short night. He was picked off (it was very close on the replay) by Boston's Clay Buchholz in the bottom of the first, turned toward first base umpire Tim Tschida and said something and was then sent to the clubhouse. Manager Ron Washington came out and argued at that point, but that was the end of Kinsler's game. Alberto Gonzalez came in to replace him. It was his first game since July 3 (just his fourth game since June 1) and his first opportunity for more than one at-bat since he started on June 20.
Beltre dances to double: It was one of the more entertaining doubles you'll ever see. Beltre hit a popup to shallow center field in the fourth inning that fell in. Once it dropped, he hustled toward second base, but the throw beat him there. Instead of sliding, Beltre went wide, danced around and dropped to the ground to get to the bag and was called safe. He couldn't stop smiling about it. He was stranded, though.
Gold Glove defense: Beltre also seems to provide a ridiculous highlight defensively several times a homestand. On Tuesday, it was charging the speedy Pedro Ciriaco's bunt down the third-base line in the fifth. Beltre bare-handed it and made an off-balance throw to first while falling away. He got Ciriaco by half a step on a throw that was perfect. It's why he's a Gold Glove player as few in the league could make that play.
Up next: LHP Derek Holland (6-5, 4.84 ERA) faces RHP Josh Beckett (5-8, 4.53 ERA) in the finale of the series at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 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.