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In the rubber game of the three game series with the Texas Rangers, the Red Sox managed to scrap across a few runs and Josh Beckett avoided his recent first inning struggles, yet the team still fell 5-3 after two late Ranger runs broke a 3-3 tie. The loss drops the Sox back below .500 on the year, keeping them in a last place tie with the Toronto Blue Jays who also lost on Wednesday. The beginning to a brutal stretch in the schedule hasn’t gone brilliant for Boston, who drop two of three in Texas before heading into a three-game weekend series in New York.
Beckett pitched pretty well given his recent performances. In his past few starts, Beckett has surrendered runs early on to put the Sox in a hole, then settled down as the game went on. On Wednesday he managed to keep the Rangers off the scoreboard until the fourth inning, while the Sox offense scattered three runs against starter Derek Holland.
In the first inning, Jacoby Ellsbury and Pedro Ciriaco started things right with a walk and a base hit, respectfully, which put runners on the corners with nobody out. However, the struggling lineup could just manage a single run as Dustin Pedroia hit into a run scoring double play.
In the top of the fourth, Will Middlebrooks blasted a solo home run to left field, doubling the lead for Beckett who had just gotten out of a third inning jam. A native of Greenville, Texas, Middlebrooks had two hits on the night including the home run. He is now hitting .298 on the year with 12 home runs in a highly successful rookie campaign.
However the Rangers got to Beckett in a big way in the bottom half of the inning. Doubles by both Michael Young and former Red Sox outfielder David Murphy brought Texas within a run, which scored when Craig Gentry executed a squeeze bunt play to score Murphy. An RBI base hit by Ian Kinsler gave Texas the lead, a hit which eluded the glove of a sliding Cody Ross in right field.
The Sox used another home run to their advantage later in the game, as Pedroia came through with a solo shot of his own in the sixth to tie the game. The tie was short-lived though, as Beckett’s wildness in the seventh inning effectively cost the team the chance at a win.
With runners on the corners, Beckett uncorked a wild pitch to Michael Young which scored Elvis Andrus from third. Beckett managed to get out the inning, but the damage was already done as Texas had a 4-3 lead. Beckett threw seven innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and two walks, while striking out three. He is now 5-9 on the year after earning the loss, as his ERA stands at 4.57. With minor speculation of him being traded before the July 31st trading deadline, there’s a slim chance this could have been his last start with Boston.
Texas tacked on an insurance run in the eighth, as Nelson Cruz went deep off of reliever Matt Albers. The starter Holland managed to pitch into the eighth inning, picking up his seventh win by allowing the three runs on five hits and a single walk, while striking out seven Sox batters. That included three strike outs of catcher Kelly Shoppach, playing for Jarrod Saltalamacchia who sat with the left-handed starter on the mound.
The schedule hardly gets any easier for the Red Sox leading up to the trade deadline. After a travel day Thursday, the team will start a three-game series with the New York Yankees in the Bronx. Amazingly, it is only the first time Boston has played at New York all year. The Yankees suffered a blow when third baseman Alex Rodriguez suffered a broken hand earlier this week, sending him to the disabled list for 6-8 weeks. But even without Rodriguez, Friday night starter Aaron Cook will have plenty to deal with in a dangerous Yankees lineup as he opposes Phil Hughes.
Tags: Aaron Cook, Alex Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox, Cody Ross, Craig Gentry, David Murphy, Derek Holland, Dustin Pedroia, Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Josh Beckett, Kelly Shoppach, Matt Albers, Michael Young, Nelson Cruz, New York Yankees, pedro ciriaco, Phil Hughes, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, Will Middlebrooks