The Rangers got a good start from Ryan Dempster, the offense did a nice job of executing in key parts of the game -- a hit-and-run, a sacrifice, clutch hits with runners in scoring position and big insurance runs -- and overcame an ill-timed error in the seventh to get the 6-3 win. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: The win ends a brief two-game skid and gives the Rangers a chance to win the series in an afternoon affair Wednesday. The win also means the Rangers will be at least five games up in the AL West.
Dempster solid: Ranger fans and the Red Sox hitters got to see exactly why Texas traded for the veteran right-hander as he was much better than in his debut last week. He attacked hitters, got into a nice, consistent rhythm and was efficient. He had one walk (with two outs in the sixth) and six strikeouts. He gave up three runs in the sixth, but all unearned. It was a far departure from his struggles in less than five innings against the Los Angeles Angels last week. And it was a quality start, as he finished with no earned runs in 6 2/3 innings.
Hamilton walk is key: Right after the Red Sox got within one run on one swing of the bat, Josh Hamilton worked a walk in the top of the eighth inning. He went to second on a grounder and then scored, with one out, on Nelson Cruz's single to right field. That put the Rangers back up 5-3 and gave them breathing room.
Kinsler's error costly: Ian Kinsler tried to backhand a grounder on the grass with two outs and missed it in the seventh inning. He was called for an error that kept the inning alive. Bobby Valentine then pinch-hit Will Middlebrooks for Nick Punto, and Middlebrooks hit the first pitch he saw on top of the Green Monster for a home run. It appeared on replay that a fan leaned over to catch it, but with the home run line being a yellow line on the wall, it made it a tough, close call for the umpires to reverse -- which they didn't. That made it a 4-3 game all of a sudden. ... Middlebrooks had never faced Dempster.
Quick pickoff: Dempster and Kinsler teamed up to pick off Carl Crawford at second. Dempster got the ball back from his catcher and even before he started to set, turned and threw over to Kinsler as Crawford started to walk off the bag to get his lead. He was caught completely flat-footed and didn't notice Kinsler sneaking in to get the throw. It was a well-executed play.
Green Monster doubles: Cody Ross had doubles in each of his first two at-bats against Dempster. Neither was hit particuarly hard, but both hit high on the wall and bounced around long enough to get the speedy Ross to second. Both times, Ross was stranded at second.
Kinsler's long singles drive in two: David Murphy's leadoff double in the sixth gave the Rangers only their second runner in scoring position in the game (and the first was with two strikes and two outs in the fifth when Michael Young got to second on a wild pitch). And Kinsler made it count, crushing a ball to left that was a few feet from a home run. Instead, it hit off the Green Monster and became a long single. But it was a productive one as Murphy scored the first run of the game. ... Kinsler did it again in the seventh, belting one off the wall for a single that scored Geovany Soto to make it 4-0.
Wash's gut: It was odd to see Murphy starting against a lefty. He was 2-for-9 against Lester but has been hitting the ball well and likes playing at Fenway Park. So Washington went with him and it paid off on the double and eventual run scored in the sixth.
Hamilton delivers clutch hit: Hamilton had one of his better at-bats in a while. Showing patience despite badly missing on some pitches, he hung in until he got a pitch he could hit on the ground to right field to score Kinsler with two outs in the sixth. It was Hamilton's MLB-leading 91st RBI of the season. After getting just 12 RBIs in 22 July games, Hamilton has seven RBIs in seven games in August. He also has a six-game hitting streak. ... Hamilton had two singles Tuesday for his second multi-hit performance in his last six games.
Soto hit-and-run: With Young on first after drawing a one-out walk in the seventh (just his 19th walk of the season), Soto came up and performed well on a hit-and-run. He didn't try to do too much, just sending the ball the other way just behind Young, who was on the move. The hit put runners on the corners with one out and allowed Murphy to be in position to drive in a run with a fly ball, which he did to left fielder Crawford. That put the Rangers up 3-0.
Tidbits: Mike Adams struck out the side in the eighth (and allowed a two-out double) to get through the frame scoreless. ... When Murphy was hit by a pitch in the ninth, Dustin Pedroia wasn't happy with the call, argued and was ejected. But really, it was more like a delayed ejection for being mad and arguing on a check swing that was ruled a strike in the previous inning (replays showed Pedroia didn't go around). ... Craig Gentry stole second base and eventually scored on a two-out hit by Elvis Andrus in the ninth to give the Rangers yet another run. ... There aren't many tickets available this weekend for the Detroit series: Friday -- scattered singles and obstructed view; Saturday -- scattered singles, obstructed view and standing room only; Sunday -- about 3,500 reserved seats remaining.
Up next: The final game of the series features LHP Matt Harrison (13-6, 3.17 ERA) against RHP Josh Beckett (5-9, 4.54 ERA) at 12:35 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW. We will be chatting from Buffalo Wild Wings in Addison during the game, so come join us.