Rapid Reaction: Rangers 10, Red Sox 9
August, 8, 2012
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- The booing could be heard all over New England.
During Boston’s 10-9 loss to the Texas Rangers Wednesday afternoon at Fenway Park, Red Sox starter Josh Beckett was walking off the field in the top of the sixth inning when he heard the disgust from the fans.
The right-hander faced only two batters in the inning before he was given the hook after he allowed eight runs on eight hits, including three home runs, with two walks and two strikeouts. Prior to Wednesday’s start, Beckett had gone a total of 12 outings without allowing a home run.
It was the second straight start in which he was booed off the Fenway mound.
He tossed only 86 pitches (58 for strikes) before Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine removed him in favor of reliever Clayton Mortensen.
The first inning has been an issue for Beckett for the majority of the season and that trend continued on Wednesday. He allowed three runs as Texas gained the early advantage. The Red Sox scored twice in the bottom of the first thanks to RBIs from Adrian Gonzalez and Cody Ross.
Beckett settled in and was solid in the second, third and fourth innings. Boston had tied the game at 3-3 on Ross’ solo homer in the third, but in the fifth Beckett surrendered a solo homer to the Rangers’ Mitch Moreland to lead off the inning, before Josh Hamilton added a two-run shot to give Texas a 6-3 lead. The homer was Hamilton’s 30th of the season and it’s the third time he’s reached that plateau in his career.
Boston closed the gap again with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to cut its deficit to 6-5.
Beckett returned for the top of the sixth, but didn’t last long. He allowed a lead-off single to the Rangers’ David Murphy, before Geovany Soto followed with a two-run homer that ended Beckett’s day.
Beckett was removed from his previous start and skipped in the rotation due to back spasms. Given his results on Wednesday, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he landed on the disabled list.
While Beckett headed to the clubhouse on Wednesday, his teammates took him off the hook when they tied the game at 9-9 with a four-run outburst in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Texas scored the would-be game-winning run in the top of the ninth inning when the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre provided a sacrifice fly for a 10-9 win.
The Red Sox concluded their longest homestand of the season with a 4-6 record.
* ROOKIE SENSATION: Middlebrooks crushed his 15th homer of the season, tying the game 9-9 with his three-run blast in the bottom of the seventh inning. He becomes only the third Red Sox rookie third baseman to hit 15 in his first full season, joining Frank Malzone (1957) and Joe Foy (1966).
It was the second time in as many days Middlebrooks hit a key homer. He blasted a pinch-hit three-run blast in the seventh inning Tuesday that brought the Sox to within a run in a game they went on to lose.
* DOUBLE TIME: Gonzalez has reached base safely in the last 15 games and has been on a torrid streak at the plate. That continued Wednesday with a 3-for-5 performance, including three doubles, three runs scored and three RBIs. He leads the majors with a .434 average (49-for-113) with runners in scoring position.
* HOME SWEET HOME: Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford went 1-for-5 with a triple on Wednesday and finished the homestand with a .333 average (14-for-42), including nine extra-base hits and 11 RBIs.
* LET IT FLY: Ross collected his 17th homer of the season with his game-tying, two-out, solo shot in the bottom of the third inning to tie the game at 3-3. He had gone a stretch of 67 at-bats without a homer.
* WEB GEM: Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury turned in the defensive play of the game in the top of the third inning. With no outs and Texas holding a 3-2 lead, the Rangers had runners on first and third when Hamilton lifted a high, fly ball to shallow center field. The Rangers’ Ian Kinsler thought about tagging from third, but Ellsbury positioned himself perfectly, while also fighting a tough sun, made the catch and threw a bullet to the plate where Red Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach caught the strike and watched the runner return to the bag. Both runners were left stranded in the inning. Ellsbury added a tremendous catch in the top of the seventh inning. Hamilton led off with a booming shot to deep center field. Ellsbury made the catch at the warning track before slamming into the wall for the out.
* UP NEXT: With a 4-6 homestand now in the rear-view mirror, the Red Sox head out on a three-city road trip through Cleveland, Baltimore and New York. Boston will face the Indians in a four-game series, beginning Thursday night. Left-hander Felix Doubront (10-5, 4.56) will start for the Red Sox, while right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (8-11, 5.29) will get the nod for the Indians.