Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 18, Red Sox 3
By Richard Durrett
The Texas Rangers steamrolled the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, getting 18 runs on 21 hits and a quality start from Colby Lewis. The Rangers were behind 2-0 after the first inning, but immediately took the lead in the second with four runs and never looked back. Texas mashed six homers (two from Mike Napoli) and scored eight of their runs in the eighth inning alone. It was an impressive game all the way around for the Rangers. It's the club's fifth consecutive win and eighth in its last nine games. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: The Rangers set new season-highs for runs (18), hits (21), home runs (6) and runs in an inning. They had eight runs in the eighth thanks to three home runs. The trio of Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz hit them. They just kept hitting. The inning took 32 minutes and the Red Sox threw 60 pitches. Texas had seven hits, including the three homers. Every Rangers starter in the game had at least one hit and the 18 runs are the most in franchise history at Fenway Park.
Rangers manager Ron Washington talks about the Rangers' series-opening 18-3 win over the Red Sox.
Solid start: Colby Lewis gave up a two-run homer to second baseman Dustin Pedroia and surrendered four hits in the first inning. But after that, he was on his game. The Red Sox had four more hits off Lewis the rest of the game and no runs as he went seven innings and gave up two runs (that's another quality start). His control has been impressive the whole season. He has 22 strikeouts and just one walk in 2012. His ERA is now 1.83.
Still on a roll: Hamilton's first-inning single means he's hit safely in 10 of the 11 games the Rangers have played this season. Hamilton also had a first-pitch hit. He's now 6-for-10 when he swings at the first pitch this season (and he's swinging at the first pitch more than anyone in MLB).
Five RBIs: Hamilton tied a career-high with five RBIs. That included a monster home run to right field that was absolutely crushed. ESPN Stats and Information puts it at 469 feet, the second-longest homer in MLB this season. Travis Hafner hit one 481 feet Sunday against the Royals. In his last three games, Hamilton is 8-for-14 with two doubles and three homers.
Great throw: Hamilton made things happen in the field, too. Playing in left, Hamilton snagged a ball off the left-field wall and fired it to second to get Jason Repko and end the fourth inning. Hamilton has had a sensational first 11 games.
Playing the wall:Craig Gentry did a nice job of playing Ryan Sweeney's double off the wall in center. Gentry was able to catch it right away after it hit the top of the wall (the ball never touched the ground) and immediately got it back in. That kept Adrian Gonzalez at third. Lewis then got a soft ground ball out down the first-base line to end the inning and limit the damage.
Lovin' Fenway: Cruz, who came into Tuesday's game batting just .211, also came into the game hitting .385 (37-for-96) agianst Boston. He hit a one-out double in the second to the deepest part of Fenway (it probably went 410 feet and wasn't a homer) and scored on Napoli's two-run shot. He later had a home run and ended up 3-for-6 with three runs scored and two RBIs.
Two-strike hit: Napoli came into Tuesday's game 0-for-15 with nine strikeouts on two-strike counts. But he crushed an 0-2 inside slider thrown by Jon Lester in the second inning. The ball went over the seats on top of the Green Monster in left. Napoli made the swing and then didn't even look at the ball as he trotted around the bases. He knew it was gone. The homer tied the score. Napoli's homer on Sunday in Minnesota may have gotten him going. He had two Tuesday -- both two-run shots. Napoli's second homer in the ninth curled around the foul pole in left. It looked like Bubba Watson's hook shot on the second playoff hole at the Masters earlier this month.
Speed helps: With the bases loaded in the second, Elvis Andrus didn't hit the ball very far. But with his speed, it was far enough. His dribbler between the mound and third-base line was enough to score the go-ahead run and allow him to get to first base without a throw.
Strange play: Left fielder Cody Ross had a fly ball from Hamilton go off his glove in the second. He was camped under it, but maybe looked up too soon to see where he was going to throw the ball. Instead, Gentry scored and Ross threw to third for a forceout of Ian Kinsler.
Long at-bat: Beltre's second-inning at-bat was 12 pitches long and ended up as an infield single. In fact, if not for a terrific diving grab by Pedroia, Beltre would have had an RBI. Still, he helped drive up Lester's pitch count.
49 pitches...in one inning: Lester threw 49 pitches in the second inning alone. The Rangers had five hits and two walks in the inning, scoring four runs.
Walk in the park: The Rangers came into Tuesday's game last in the AL in walks with 18. But they walked seven times Tuesday.