Red Sox

John Lackey pitches well but Red Sox fall to Rangers

The Red Sox scored 17 runs on 19 hits against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night. They scored in every inning except one.

A day later, runs were much tougher to come by at Fenway Park.

John Lackey pitched well for six innings on Wednesday night. But poor relief pitching and a tepid offense led to a 3-2 loss before a crowd of 33,296.

The Sox were held to five hits and were hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position. That snapped their three-game win streak.

Down entering the eighth inning, 3-1, the Red Sox scored a run off Tanner Scheppers. Mike Napoli drew his third walk of the game and scored when Jarrod Saltalamacchia dropped a double that rolled down the line in right.

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Joe Nathan closed out the Sox for his 18th save.

Craig Breslow took the loss, giving up two runs in the seventh inning. They scored on a two-run run double by Elvis Andrus that came off Koji Uehara.

Red Sox relievers have a 5.63 earned run average at Fenway, more than double the 2.30 they have on the road.

The Sox are 1-4 against Texas this season and have dropped 10 of their last 13 games against the Rangers. Since the start of the 2009 season, the Sox are 13-29 against Texas.

Lackey came into the game 12-15 with a 6.14 earned run average in 37 career starts against the Rangers. He faced them May 4 in Texas and took the loss, giving up three runs over five innings.

Lackey was terrific against Texas this time, allowing one run on five hits over six innings. He struck out five without a walk.

Adrian Beltre, who missed the two previous games with a hamstring strain, homered to center in the fourth inning. It was Beltre’s fifth RBI in four games against the Red Sox this season.

The Rangers were 0 for 6 against Lackey with runners in scoring position. He left a runner stranded at third in the third inning and two runners in the fifth.

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Lackey has allowed four earned runs over 25 innings in his last four starts, dropping his season ERA to 2.79. He has allowed only 14 hits over that stretch with six walks and 23 strikeouts.

Breslow started the seventh inning for the Sox by allowing a double down the right-field line by Mitch Moreland. He could have had a triple but he strained his right hamstring going into second base and left the game.

Rookie Jurickson Profar failed in a sacrifice attempt before Breslow walked pinch hitter Craig Gentry.

Uehara, the former Ranger, came in to face Elvis Andrus. His first pitch was a high fastball over the inner half of the plate and Andrus drove it into the gap in left for a two-run double.

Texas starter Alexi Ogando came off the disabled list to make his first start since May 15. He was out with biceps tendinitis.

The righthander faced nine batters over the first three innings. Napoli walked in the second inning before Saltalamacchia bounced into a double play. Stephen Drew singled to start the third inning and was thrown out going to second by left fielder David Murphy. Replays showed that umpire Sam Holbrook blew the call.

Mike Carp doubled with one out in the fourth inning before Dustin Pedroia walked. But Ogando came back to strike out David Ortiz and Napoli.

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The Sox finally scored in the sixth inning on a two-out homer by Pedroia, his fourth of the season. What looked like a playable fly ball hit the light tower above the wall.

That was it for Ogando after 92 pitches. Lefthander Neal Cotts walked Ortiz and Napoli on 12 pitches. Saltalamacchia then struck out on three pitches to end the inning. That left Saltalamacchia 5 of 38 (.132) against lefthanders this season with 17 strikeouts.

Cotts walked Drew to start the bottom of the seventh. Robbie Ross, another lefty, came in and Jose Iglesias singled to right. That extended his hit streak to 10 games.

But with two on and nobody out, the Red Sox could not score. Jackie Bradley Jr. struck out, Daniel Nava grounded back to the mound, and pinch hitter Jonny Gomes popped to center.

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