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After a devastating loss to close the Toronto series, in which the Red Sox held a 5-2 lead entering the ninth inning on Thursday but managed to lose 6-5, the Red Sox hitters did what they could to show they were not negatively affected by Thursday’s disaster. The Red Sox knocked out five home runs, including back-to-back-to-back shots in the fourth inning as they tried to outslug the Texas Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington on Friday night.
Unfortunately, per the usual, the Rangers have a few big boppers themselves. Given an 8-2 lead in the fourth, Josh Beckett proved again that he can’t beat any good team this year. He coughed up four runs in the fourth and fifth innings on homers to Matt Moreland, Michael Young, and Josh Hamilton. After allowing six runs in five innings, Beckett still left with the 8-6 lead and was in line for an undeserved win.
J.D. Drew slugged his second homer of the game in the seventh inning to give the Sox a 9-6 lead, but against the stacked Texas lineup, no lead is too safe. The Rangers scored two in the seventh on a sac fly from David Murphy and a double from Bengie Molina. They tied the game in the eighth on an infield single from Vladimir Guerrero off Daniel Bard, who allowed three hits and a walk in 1.1 innings (including three strikeouts). Bard was saddled with the blown saves, and we were headed to extras.
The Sox got scoreless innings from Manny Delcarmen in the ninth and Jonathan Papelbon in the 10th, but the Sox bats couldn’t muster any more offense in the late innings off Neftali Feliz or Darren O’Day. Long reliever Tim Wakefield came on for what looked to be a never-ending game in the 11th, but just when you thought the game would never end, it did. Nelson Cruz blasted a walk-off shot to end the ball game and complete the six-run comeback for the Rangers. The loss leaves the Sox six games behind the Yankees and four back of the Rays in the Wild Card chase.
When Kevin Youkilis was lost for the season, everyone pointed to J.D. Drew, among others, to pick up the slack. Lately, Drew has been pulling his weight. In the 99-degree weather in Texas, Drew blasted two home runs in a 3-5 effort. He now has four home runs in his last four games.
OK, if he’s unhealthy, it’s one thing. But, if he is healthy, then there’s no excuse. Beckett can’t shut down topnotch offenses. Given an 8-2 lead, Beckett should have been able to hold the Rangers at bay for a few innings, but he did the Sox a disservice in allowing four more runs in just two more innings. He left after five, which stretched out a poor Red Sox bullpen.
W: Darren O’Day (4-2)
L: Tim Wakefield (3-9)