Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Red Sox 3
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers took the lead on a wild pitch in the eighth and held on for a 5-3 win over the Boston Red Sox.
What it means: Texas stays five games up on the A's and Angels, who both won Wednesday. It's the seventh straight series win at home for the Rangers, who are 10-2-1 in the last 13 series overall.
Solid outing: Derek Holland pitched well Wednesday, allowing three runs in 7 2/3 innings on 100 pitches. He threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of the 29 batters he faced, and outside of a couple of pitches that turned into homers, kept the hitters off balance. Holland worked quickly and was efficient.
Winning wild pitch: With two outs in the seventh inning and Elvis Andrus at third base, Josh Beckett threw a wild pitch (on a 1-0 count) that ran to the backstop, allowing Andrus to score what became the winning run. It came with Michael Young at the plate.
Insurance long ball: Nelson Cruz, who ended a 21-game home run drought Sunday, hit another one in the eighth to extend the Rangers' lead to two runs. He had just five hits in his last 33 at-bats before the homer, which landed in the Rangers bullpen.
Big shutdown inning: After the Rangers scored three runs to give Holland the lead, he came out and got a 1-2-3 inning without a ball going past the mound. He struck out Kelly Shoppach and got Mike Aviles and Jacoby Ellsbury to bounce back to the mound. He needed just 12 pitches.
Early walk turns into early run: Holland walked the first batter he faced in Ellsbury, and the leadoff hitter ended up scoring in the top of the first. Holland did avoid a big inning, getting Dustin Pedroia to ground into a double play (which scored the run). But the walk hurt Holland early.
Homer happy: One thing that has plagued Holland recently is the home-run ball. He surrendered a solo shot to Will Middlebrooks with two outs in the fourth to make it 2-0 Boston. It was Holland's 12th homer allowed in his last eight starts. ... In the sixth, with the Rangers leading 3-2, Holland gave up a 394-foot solo homer into the visiting bullpen off the bat of Pedroia.
Payback?: With no one on and two outs in the first, Holland plunked Red Sox cleanup hitter Adrian Gonzalez in the butt. Judging by the situation and the pitch, it was likely payback for Vicente Padilla hitting two Rangers on Tuesday, including Adrian Beltre in the head. Beltre, Young and others said they did not believe Padilla hit Beltre intentionally. But with Padilla's history and the fact that it did hit Beltre in the head, Holland probably wanted to send a message on behalf of his hitters.
Double double: The Rangers got two opposite-field doubles in the fourth inning to score their first run of the game. Young doubled to right field over the head of Cody Ross, and David Murphy followed it up with a double to left-center to score Young. It was Young's first extra-base hit since the All-Star break. Murphy's double ended an 0-for-10 stretch with runners in scoring position for the Rangers. In fact, Texas had three hits with runners in scoring position in the fourth inning alone.
Suicide squeeze: With Murphy at third and Yorvit Torrealba at first in the fourth, Craig Gentry got the bunt down with Murphy coming hard down the line. The suicide sqeeze worked well as Murphy scored while Gentry was thrown out at first. The run tied the game. Texas ended up taking the lead on Ian Kinsler's bloop single as the club scored three runs on five hits in the inning.
Hamilton watch: After a lenghty session with the media prior to the game about his struggles -- read all about that here -- Josh Hamilton was 0-for-3 on Wednesday against Beckett, with a strikeout.
Nathan gets save: Joe Nathan got his 20th save (and his 18th consecutive) in a two-run game in the ninth, which included a nice play to his left from Kinsler to get Gonzalez to start the inning. That came after Mike Adams got the final out of the eighth as Pedroia flew out to Murphy.
Up next: The Rangers are off Thursday before seven more games at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. RHP Yu Darvish (11-6, 3.88 ERA) vs. LHP Chris Sale (11-3, 2.37 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and TXA21. ... There aren't many seats left for the weekend series against the White Sox, with obstructed view and scattered singles for Friday and Sunday and about 500 reserved seats remaining for Saturday. There are plenty of tickets left for all four Angels games next week.
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.