Saturday, September 3, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 12, Rangers 7
By Richard Durrett
BOSTON -- After such a solid performance Friday, the Rangers weren't able to repeat that effort Saturday. Colby Lewis and Yoshinori Tateyama couldn't stop the Red Sox in the fourth. Boston scored eight runs in the inning. The game took nearly four hours. A few thoughts (more to come from the clubhouse):
* Lewis got some breaking and off-speed pitches up in the zone (a few sliders, for example) and worked with runners on base all through his outing. He managed to give up just one run as the Red Sox left six on base in first three innings. But in the fourth, Boston got to Lewis. With a runner on and no outs, Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a home run to right to tie the score at 3-3.
* Lewis had three walks and did not benefit from a small strike zone from home plate umpire Gary Darling. The Red Sox hitters stayed patient, got the counts in their favor and took advantage. Lewis is now 0-2 with a 9.39 ERA in his last three starts. He's given up 32 homers, the most in the AL, and five of those have come in the last three starts.
* The fourth inning didn't get any better after Lewis left. Tateyama came in and couldn't get the left-handed hitters out. Lefties were hitting .242 off Tateyama coming into the game. The lefties in the fourth off Tateyama: Adrian Gonzalez walked, David Ortiz walked and Carl Crawford hit a grand slam. All seven homers that Tateyama has allowed have come by lefties.
* The Red Sox pinch hit Mike Aviles for Jed Lowrie with the bases loaded in the fourth, and he got a single to drive in what was then the go-ahead run.
* By the time the 36-minute bottom of the fourth ended, the Rangers had allowed eight runs, used three pitchers and given up eight hits. The eight runs matched the season worst for the Rangers.
* Lewis worked around some of the tougher lefties in the Red Sox lineup in the first. He walked Gonzalez with first base open and, with two outs and two on, issued a free pass to Ortiz. But he got Lowrie to line out to end the inning. Lewis needed 27 pitches in the inning but got out of it with no damage. The Rangers scored in the next half inning.
* The Rangers took advantage of walks. Erik Bedard walked three Texas batters in the first three innings, and all three scored. Two walks in the third helped build the Rangers' early lead. Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus walked and Michael Young delivered a one-out hit to center to drive in a run. Andrus ran hard to get to third and was in position to score when Adrian Beltre hit a ground ball to short.
* Texas couldn't take advantage of a scoring chance in the first. With Andrus and third and Hamilton at first with out one, Young hit a bullet to Gonzalez, who gloved it and stepped on the bag. Hamilton ran as soon as Young made contact and had no way to get back.
* Saturday was a day game, though late in the day, and Hamilton got a single through the hole on the right side in his first at-bat. He came into the game batting .173 in the day, but has hit better in day time games recently.
* David Murphy continues to fill in tremendously for the injured Nelson Cruz. He came up against left-hander Bedard in the second and got an RBI single. It was just Murphy's second hit off Bedard in nine at-bats. Murphy is 10-for-17 with five RBIs since Cruz has been out. He has a nine-game hitting streak too.
* Craig Gentry failed on two attempts to get a bunt down on the squeeze play in the fourth. With Yorvit Torrealba at third, the Rangers tried a squeeze on the first pitch to Gentry and he fouled it off. They didn't try it on the second pitch, and the Red Sox pitched out. On the third pitch, the Rangers tried it again and Gentry popped it up to first baseman Gonzalez, who tagged Torrealba to get the double play. Rangers play-by-play voice Eric Nadel said the Rangers are 5-for-7 on squeeze attempts put in play this season. The bottom line: Gentry couldn't execute it. I like the call, but he didn't get it down.
* Mark Hamburger came in and retired his first four batters. But he then ran into trouble in the sixth. A three-run double for Dustin Pedroia with two outs made it a 12-3.
* Beltre likely pleased manager Ron Washington when he hit a single in the eighth and did not try to stretch it into a double. Clearly, Beltre is making a note of not pushing it, which is exactly what the Rangers want him to do.
* Esteban German hit a home run to left field, and it was very deep. It's his first homer since Sept. 28, 2007, and it came on his first big league at-bat of the season.