ARLINGTON, Texas -- John Lackey pitched seven strong innings and battery mate A.J. Pierzynski delivered the key hit in Boston’s 5-2 victory over the Rangers Sunday afternoon before 41,407 at Globe Life Park.
Lackey struck out nine and limited the Rangers to seven hits to gain his fifth victory. Lackey got strikeouts to extinguish Texas threats in the fourth and seventh innings.
Pierzynski, last year’s primary Rangers catcher, brought in two runs with a two-out, two-strike single in the first inning when it appeared Rangers starters Robbie Ross Jr. might get out of trouble allowing only one run.
Boston took two of three in the series and also wrapped up the season series with the Rangers, 4-2.
A few observations:
Going deep: Shin-Soo Choo took over the solo club lead in home runs with his fourth in the fourth inning. It traveled into the Red Sox bullpen, an estimated distance of 411 feet. Choo and Prince Fielder came into the game tied for the Rangers homer lead with three. All of the home runs for Choo and Fielder been solos. Of the club’s 23 home runs, 17 have been solos.
Settling down: After a rough beginning, Ross blanked Boston in the third though sixth innings and showed indications of coming out of his recent downturn. He retired 12 of 13 Red Sox at one point, a streak interrupted only by an error. Four of the five runs and four of the six hits he allowed came in the first two innings.
Covering ground: Because of an extreme overshift with David Ortiz at the plate, third baseman Adrian Beltre had to cover a lot of ground to chase down Ortiz's fly ball to shallow left in the second inning. With his back to the infield, Beltre made a graceful backhanded catch just as he crossed the foul line to end the Red Sox second inning.
More defensive gems: Second baseman Rougned Odore made a nice stab of a line drive off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. in the fourth inning. Choo, in left field, charged in and made a sprawling catch to take a hit away from Pierzynski in the third. Beltre made a bare-hand pickup on Jonathan Herrera's slow chopper in the seventh inning and made an accurate throw to Fielder for the out.
Other way: Mitch Moreland went to the opposite field for his RBI double in the seventh inning. Many opponents, including the Red Sox, have been using an overshift to the right side on Moreland this season.
Streak continues: Elvis Andrus extended his hitting streak to eight with a first-inning single and has reached base by hit or walk in 33 of 38 games. One streak Andrus would like to end -- he is hitless in his last 24 at-bats with runners in scoring position. The bases were empty on all of Andrus’ plate appearances Sunday.
Up next: The Rangers open a quick three-game road trip in Houston with Colby Lews (2-2, 6.12 ERA) facing Brad Peacock (0-3, 5.01 ERA) in Monday’s 7:10 p.m. start on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.