It started out as a beautiful night at Fenway, a balmy 63 degrees at the early 6:10 game time, but then things got ugly fast and the Red Sox went down to defeat to the Rangers, 10-7.
Felix Doubront came into tonight's start having given up 16 runs on 27 hits in 13-1/3 innings against the Rangers. And it got even worse for the Sox lefty during his start against Texas tonight.
Doubront started having trouble spotting his fastball in the first inning when he walked Shin-Soo Choo to start the game, but he recovered to retire the next six Ranger batters before the wheels came off in a hurry.
Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos hit a towering shot that left the park over the Monster in left to start the third inning. It was Chirinos' first home run since Aug. 2011. After Doubront retired Josh Wilson, Choo went hight off the Wall for a Fenway single. But after Elvis Andrus got caught looking for the second out of the third, the Texas bats went to work and even the struggling Prince Fielder got into the act with a ground ball double to right field that scored Choo. Adrian Beltre followed with a single scoring Prince, Alex Rios got a base hit. Next up was Donnie Murphy who hit a ball that deflected off Grady Sizemore -- who did not get a good jump on it -- Beltre scored on the double. Michael Choice then walked to load the bases and up came Chirinos for the second time in the inning. Doubront walked the Rangers catcher and his night was done after Rios crossed the plate for the Rangers fifth run of the night. Eight of the 10 batters Doubront faced reached base as the lefty had the shortest outing of his career.
"He started to lose command of the strike zone a little bit," Red Sox manager John Farrell said regarding Doubront's implosion in the third inning. "Fielder's chop in front of the plate that ends up going 300 feet, probably not the normal type of base hit we're going to see but nonetheless it's a double and it leads to a run. And then the ball that fell into center field, it certainly extended the inning as we're getting close the that mid-30s, close to 40 pitches in the inning and just had a tough time getting that third out in the third and once we're down five, even though we got a number of leadoff hitters on base, we've gotta be a little bit protective of just giving away outs and there's a ground ball double play that just snuffed everything out."
Farrell was asked if Doubront was showing the confidence he showed at the end of spring training.
"I think he has and there's probably been two innings where that hasn't shown up," Farrell said. Obviously the third inning tonight, and the one inning down in Baltimore but I think he's taken the mound aggressively, he's attacked and challenged the strike zone and again tonight, that third inning was obviously not the way it was intended."
Regarding Doubront's back-to-back walks in the third, Farrell said fatigue factored in at that point.
"This early in the season, he hasn't had innings where he's been stretched above 30 pitches," Farrell said. "And the first time, it was fatigue started showing up in that third inning."
Doubront said he felt good coming into the game until the wheels came off in the third.
"The homer to start [the inning], I was being too perfect and too overthrow," Doubront said. "But the double, triple form Prince got me a little bit off and I started doing too much."
Doubront was asked if he grew tired toward the end of the disastrous third inning as Farrell had indicated.
"No, not really," Doubront said. "No I wasn't tired… I can't explain what happened, I was feeling really good during the first two innings and the whole day, my bullpen and… you feel good and you start doing too much, I think that was what happened, I was trying to do too much and overthrow… I was feeling very comfortable in my arm. My body feels really good. I was trying to do too much and it's hard to explain, I don't know what happened, one of those games."
Badenhop wasn't much better as he allowed the Rangers in extend their lead when he allowed four more runs on five hits and a walk in 2-1/3 innings of relief with Fielder, Beltre, Murphy, Chirinos, and Choo doing more damage in the fourth and fifth innings. Badenhop's ERA also sits at 9.00 on the season.
"He's got to dominate the bottom of the strike zone," Farrell said on Badenhop's night. "And when he doesn't, that's when he's been hurt. He's got such good action with his fastball when it's middle of the zone or down, but there's been a number of pitches that have been up on the zone and that's when he's had his troubles."
Brandon Workman came in and was able to stop the bleeding by logging four innings of superb relief allowing a run on two hits. The Sox righty is expected to be sent to Pawtucket when lefty Craig Breslow is activated this week.
"He pitched very well, very effective," Farrell said on the Workman-like effort. "Threw pitches for strikes, he attacks the strike zone, pitches ahead, some swing and miss on his fastball, just a solid four innings here tonight."
Red Sox batters could not mount much offense on Rangers starter Martin Perez. The lefty would hurl 6-1/3 innings allowing just two runs on eight hits. Boston's leadoff hitters reached base in eight of nine innings of the game.
Boston got on the scoreboard in the fourth when Mike Napoli knocked in Dustin Pedroia on a base hit to center. The Red Sox rallied again in the seventh when they plated three more runs. Mike Napoli picked up his third hit of the night to start things off. Sizemore followed with a line single and after Xander Bogaerts flied to center, Pierzynski hit an infield single that scored Napoli and Perez was out of the game.
But the Red Sox snuffed out the bulk of their run scoring opportunities by hitting into five double plays and going 5-for-14 with runners in scoring position. it marked their most grounded into double plays at Fenway since grounding into six against the Twins in July 1990.
Jason Frasor came on in relief of Perez and walked Ryan Roberts to load the bases for last night's hero Jackie Bradley Jr. who popped an opposite field double off the left field scoring Pierzynski and Roberts to cut the deficit to 9-4.
The Sox added three runs in the ninth when Jonny Gomes knocked in A.J. Pierzynski with a base hit and David Ortiz knocked in two more with a two-out double off the wall.
Napoli, Sizemore, and Pierzynski all went 3-for-4 to lead the Red Sox 14-hit attack. Bradley is 6-for-12 over his last three games after going 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs tonight.