Doubront, Sox no match for Rangers in trip opener
ARLINGTON, Texas — On a day when the Yankees and Tigers made significant trades to boost their postseason chances, the Red Sox did little to show general manager Ben Cherington that they merit such measures.
The losing streak hit four games on Monday night as the Texas Rangers beat the Sox, 9-1.
After being swept in a three-game series at home by Toronto, the Red Sox started a crucial road trip with a dispirited effort.
A replacement starter, Scott Feldman, held the Sox to one run over seven innings. Their starter, Felix Doubront, lasted only five innings and gave up six runs. There were two errors and not a single hit with runners in scoring position.
At 48-49, the Red Sox are back under .500 for the first time since June 16. They have not had a losing record this late in the season since Oct. 3, 2001.
“We’ve got to keep fighting. Nobody said this is going to be easy. It never is here,” said Dustin Pedroia, who had three hits but also committed a costly error. “We’ll find a way. I think we’re all miserable. Nobody in here likes losing. We want to win, every single one of us.”
Pedroia feels that he and some other players are trying too hard, perhaps, to make something good happen.
“We’re fighting. We’re trying all we can to do something, everyone is. Maybe we should take a step back,” he said. “When you try to do something, you try to get a hit, the game doesn’t come to you. I think we need to take a step back, play the game, and have fun.”
The Yankees had just completed their acquisition of Ichiro Suzuki from the Mariners as the Red Sox took the field. The Tigers had picked up righthander Anibal Sanchez and infielder Omar Infante from the Marlins earlier in the day.
There was a brief uptick for the Sox when Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a changeup 422 feet to center field in the second inning for his 19th home run.
But the lead was fleeting, as the third inning was a disaster for Doubront.
Craig Gentry led off with a single before Ian Kinsler walked. A double steal moved the runners to second and third for Elvis Andrus.
Andrus hit a grounder up the middle. Pedroia, who usually makes that play as well as any second baseman in the game, threw the ball over the head of Adrian Gonzalez at first base.
Gentry and Kinsler scored on the single and error. Josh Hamilton followed with an RBI double to left field. Hamilton then scored on a single by Michael Young.
Pedroia had gone 65 games without an error, the longest streak in his career and the longest for a Red Sox second baseman since Bobby Doerr went 73 games between errors in 1948.
“I got to it and I really didn’t get a good grip on the ball. Elvis runs real well. I tried my best to get rid of it,” Pedroia said. “It just sailed. Gonzo tried to stay on the base and get the out. The thinking was right on both ends. It seems like nothing is going our way.”
Said Gonzalez: “I knew if I jumped, the runner is safe. I was trying to stay on the bag and the ball went higher than I thought.”
Doubront got through the fourth and fifth innings. Then the game got ugly in the sixth.
Cruz walked ahead of a titanic home run by Napoli, his 15th on the season. Napoli has four home runs and 10 RBIs in four games against the Red Sox this season.
Doubront (10-5) allowed six runs, matching his career high, on eight hits and three walks. He struck out six.
“I left a couple of pitches up to the good hitters. They did damage to those pitches,” Doubront said. “They’re pretty good hitters.”
Franklin Morales, demoted from the rotation last week, replaced Doubront. Brandon Snyder doubled and scored on a single by Gentry. Kinsler followed with his third hit of the game, a single to left. Carl Crawford let the ball get under his glove and Gentry scored.
Kinsler ended up on third base and scored on a sacrifice fly by Hamilton. That gave Texas a 9-1 lead.
The Rangers had Roy Oswalt lined up to start the game. But he was scratched on Sunday because of a sore back. Feldman started in his place.
Feldman had a 6.46 earned run average in 10 previous starts this season. But he was sharp against the Sox, allowing one run over seven innings. He scattered seven hits without a walk and struck out five.
Ahead, 1-0, the Sox put two on with two outs in the third inning as Jacoby Ellsbury and Pedroia singled. But Gonzalez, who entered the game leading the majors with a .411 batting average with runners in scoring position, popped to first base.
“We kind of misfired there,” manager Bobby Valentine said. “We lost a little momentum. It’s tough, the hitters are having a tough time. We have to score early and add on.”
The Sox did not advance another runner into scoring position until the seventh inning when Saltalamacchia doubled off the fence in center. He, too, was stranded.
The Sox are winless in three games against the Rangers this season and 10-22 against Texas since the start of 2009.