Game over: Rangers 6, Red Sox 3: The Sox had their modest two-game winning streak snapped in a 6-3 loss to the Rangers before a Fenway Park crowd of 38,416, the largest of the season.
The Sox (55-56) rallied for three runs in the seventh on a 3-run pinch-hit homer by Will Middlebrooks to cut Texas' lead to 4-3, but that was as close as the Sox could get as the Rangers tacked on insurance runs in the eighth and ninth inning.
Bottom of 9th, 2 out: Rangers 6, Red Sox 3: Pedroia wound up getting ejected by Nauert when he argued David Murphy had swung before getting hit by Craig Breslow's pitch. Nauert heard enough and gave Pedroia the heave-ho, marking the second ejection of his career. The Fenway crowd of 38,416 chanted "Bob-by! Bob-by! Bob-by!'' when Valentine came to his second baseman's defense and lit up Nauert.
After he got Mitch Moreland to fly to left, Breslow handed it over to Junichi Tazawa, who struck out Ian Kinsler with a 95-m.p.h. fastball up in the zone then gave up a run-scoring bloop single to right to Elvis Andrus, which scored pinch-runner Alvin Gentry from second, giving the Rangers a 3-run lead.
Tazawa got out of the inning when he got Adrian Beltre to fly to left, leaving the Sox down to their last three outs to make up a three-run deficit without their sparkplug second baseman.
Bottom of 8th: Rangers 5, Red Sox 3: Mike Adams entered the game in relief of Robbie Ross and struck out the first two batters he faced, getting Pedroia on a checked-swing called third strike by 1st base ump Paul Nauert, who was the subject of Pedroia's wrath as he walked all the way back to the dugout.
Somehow, Nauert averted throwing out Pedroia, even after he continued his withering rebuke from the dugout. Adams wound up getting out of the inning by striking out Ross (swinging).
Top of 8th: Rangers 5, Red Sox 3: Nelson Cruz's one-out RBI single to right scored Josh Hamilton, who drew a lead-off walk from Melancon, to give the Rangers a bit of a buffer after their calamitous seventh.
Melancon, however, came back and struck out the last two batters he faced, punching out Soto with an 82-m.p.h. curveball that ended the inning.
Bottom of 7th: Rangers 4, Red Sox 3: Will Middlebrooks, pinch-hitting for Nick Punto, hit a 3-run homer when he belted a first-pitch offering from Dempster that appeared to just reach the top of the wall, where some fans sitting in the Green Monster seats reached out to grab it.
After the play was reviewed by the umpiring crew and ruled a home run. All the runs in the inning were unearned after Ian Kinsler committed a fielding error trying to backhand Ryan Kalish's sharply-struck grounder. It enabled Kalish to reach and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who reached on a seeing-eye single to right, to advance to second.
Middlebrooks brought them all home with one prodigious swat of his bat. It was the first pinch-hit homer of his career, which chased Dempster (6.2 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 6 K, 99 pitches) from the game.
Top of 7th: Rangers 4, Red Sox 0: Rangers tacked on another run against Lester. The Sox lefty scuffled in the seventh after giving up a one-out walk to Michael Young. He went to third on Geovany Soto's ground ball single to right, then scored on David Murphy's sacrifice fly to left.
Lester's night was done after 6.2 innings when he issued a two-out walk to Olt, prompting Bobby Valentine to summoned Mark Melancon, who gave up an RBI single off the wall to Kinsler that scored Soto from second. Melancon got out of the inning when Elvis Andrus grounded to short for the 6-4 force out at second on Kinsler.
Bottom of 6th: Rangers 2, Red Sox 0: Dempster continued to keep the Sox in check. After issuing a two-out walk to Pedroia, Dempster got Gonzalez to fly to right to end the inning. It marked the second time in the game Gonzalez came up to the plate with RISP and produced the inning-ending out for the Sox.
Top of 6th: Rangers 2, Red Sox 0: After David Murphy ripped a lead-off double to right, Ian Kinsler drove him home with a one-out single off the wall that just missed being a 2-run homer.
With two out, Lester just missed the corner on a 2-and-2 fastball to Hamilton to run the count rull. Hamilton made him pay on the next pitch by lacing an RBI single to right that scored Kinsler. He got out of the inning when Adrian Beltre flew to right.
Bottom of 5th: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Nothing doin' for the Sox as Dempster retires them in 1-2-3 fashion. Seems like he was a great pick-up for the Rangers.
Top of 5th: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Nice recovery by Lester. Just when it appeared he might stumble after giving up a two-out single to Michael Young, then allowing him to advance on a wild pitch to Geovany Soto, Lester rallied by striking out Soto on an 89 cutter.
Through five scoreless innings, Lester has allowed two hits, no walks, while striking out three. Through the first four innings, he faced the minimum of 12 batters, thanks to a second-inning double play, and has thrown 62 pitches (38 strikes).
Bottom of 4th: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: After entering the game 2-for-15 vs. Dempster, Ross doubled off the wall for the second time in as many at-bats in the game against the Rangers' righty. It was the 11th double in their last 12 innings for the Sox against Texas pitchers.
With two out, however, Ross wound up getting stranded when Saltalamacchia grounded to first.
Top of 4th: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Nick Punto assisted on all three outs in the fourth as Lester retired the Rangers on three groundball outs to third, giving him eight overall so far in the game.
Bottom of 3d: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Dempster retired the Sox in 1-2-3 fashion. He matched Lester, pitch for pitch, through three scoreless innings, as each pitcher threw 38 pitches.
Top of 3d: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Lester retired the Rangers in order. He was in complete control, striking out Texas 1B Mike Olt, the pride of UConn, who was making his first Fenway Park plate appearance. Olt went down swinging at a 78 curveball
Bottom of 2d: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Cody Ross hit a lead-off double off the wall, giving the Sox 10 doubles in their last 10 innings vs. Texas pitchers. But the Sox stranded him at third after Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out, Mike Aviles grounded to short, and Ryan Kalish grounded to first.
Top of 2d: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Lester made quick work of the Rangers when he got Michael Young to ground to short for an inning-ending double play.
Bottom of 1st: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Facing Rangers right-handed starter Ryan Dempster, who was acquired from the Cubs at the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline, the Red Sox managed to cobble together a pair of back-to-back hits, including a one-out double off the wall by Carl Crawford.
Crawford, however, wound up getting picked off at second by Dempster. After Dustin Pedroia singled off the wall, Dempster got Adrian Gonzalez to ground to the mound to end the inning.
Top of 1st: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Jon Lester, who deserved to win his previous start after allowing 3 runs on 7 hits over 8 innings in a no-decision Aug. 2 vs. Minnesota, got off to a promising start with an efficient 12-pitch, 1-2-3 inning in which he struck out lead-off batter Ian Kinsler, got Elvis Andrus to ground to first, and Josh Hamilton to fly to left.
Pregame: Greetings from Fenway Park where the Red Sox (55-55) will attempt to extend their modest two-game winning streak when they host the Rangers (63-45) in the second game of this three-game set that will wrap up a 10-game homestand. The Sox will send LHP Jon Lester (5-9, 5.36) to the mound to face RHP Ryan Dempster (5-5,2.82), who was acquired from the Cubs 10 minutes before the 4 p.m. non-waiver trading deadline.
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