FELIZ SAVES IT (11:24, END 9, 7-2 RANGERS)
The Sox allowed the Rangers to creep back to 1/2 game out of the wild card lead. The winner tomorrow gets the wild card lead. Neftali Feliz is the youngest pitcher to ever save a game for the Rangers at 21 years, 105 days. The Sox allowed eight steals tonight, the highest mark in the majors this season.
RANGERS PUT IT OUT OF REACH? (11:19, END 8, 7-2 RANGERS)
The Rangers stole two more bases in the ninth, setting a team record tonight with eight bases. The Sox allowed eight steals for the second time, which is the high in the big leagues for the entrie season. Both games, Brad Penny started — the other game was the one from May, when Carl Crawford stole six times in a Rays win.
The Sox scored six runs in the ninth last night. Tonight, that’s what they need to go ahead by merely one run. There was a bit of drama in that inning after a scary moment. Fernando Cabrera hit Ian Kinsler in the back of the head with a pitch. The crowd booed Cabrera, who was clearly upset with the pitch and the result.
FELIZ SHUTS DOWN SOX (10:58, MID 8, 5-2 RANGERS)
Martinez led off by crushing a ball toward left on a 96-mph fastball. The home run turned into a double when it hit the wall, and the double turned into a single when Martinez stood in the batter’s box and stared at it for a moment. From there, Feliz dominated. Bay struck out swinging at a letter-high, 98-mph fastball. Lowell popped up to first. Ortiz struck out swinging at a 98-mph fastball.
RAMIREZ RECOVERS, FELIZ ENTERS (10:47, END 7, 5-2 RANGERS)
After his balk, Ramirez got two quick outs, Blalock on a dribbler to first and a strike out of Teagarden. It happened one fancy pickoff move too late.
On comes uber-uber-prospect Neftali Feliz, who throws 90 — when he throws a changeup. He throws 100 with movement on his fastballs. He is the Rangers answer to Daniel Bard. If anything, he might be more electric, which is saying a lot.
BALK THIS WAY (10:44, BOT 7, 5-2 RANGERS)
Ramirez let the game get a little bit further away from the Sox with a balk. He faked to third and threw to first, but the umpire, Angel Hernandez, ruled his footwork was illegal. Byrd scored, and Sox fell behind by three.
RAMIREZ FACES JAM (10:39, BOT 7, 4-2 RANGERS)
Delcarmen leaves with men on first and third, handing off to Ramon Ramirez. Byrd walked to lead off the inning, and Hamilton popped to second. With the count 3-2, Kinsler and Byrd executed a perfect hit-and-run. Pedroia went to cover the base, and Kinsler rolled a ball to his left, through the exact spot he had vacated. There’s one out for Blalock.
PEDROIA STRIKES OUT (10:27, MID 7, 4-2 RANGERS)
O’Day blew a high fastball past Pedroia to end the inning. Delcarmen is still in for the Sox.
O’DAY REPLACES HOLLAND (10:23, TOP 7, 4-2 RANGERS)
Anderson led off with a single to left, but he was erased when Gonzalez grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Ellsbury walked, which spelled the end for Holland. On to face Pedroia is righthander Darren O’Day.
DELCARMEN GETS HIS MAN (10:16, END 6, 4-2 RANGERS)
Murphy flied out to left, ending the inning. Anderson, Gonzalez, and Ellsbury are due up for the Sox.
A HIT AND A RELIEVER (10:11, BOT 6, 4-2 RANGERS)
Penny is done after Michael Young lined a single to right with two outs. Penny threw 121 pitches and, so far, has allowed four earned runs. He also surrendered six stolen bases, along with Varitek.
The new pitcher is Manny Delcarmen, who has a 2.35 ERA in his career in 14 games against the Rangers.
PENNY COMES OUT FOR SIXTH (10:04, MID 6, 4-2 RANGERS)
After two 1-2-3 innings by Penny and then Holland, Penny is out for the sixth inning having thrown 108 pitches.
MARTINEZ HOMERS (9:48, MID 5, 4-2 RANGERS)
Martinez pulled the Sox a little closer, slamming a homer to left while batting righthanded. Last night, his game-winning double came lefthanded. Kinsler leads off, and he’s been a menace for Penny.
PENNY LABORS (9:37, BOT 4, 4-1 RANGERS)
Young sent Borbon to third with a grounder to second. With one out and the infield in, Penny walked Muprhy for the second time. John Farrell came out for a chat, and then Byrd lifted a sac fly to right. Penny has thrown 93 pitches already, only 50 strikes and 43 balls. With two outs, here’s Hamilton.
STEALING AWAY (9:30, BOT 4, 3-1 RANGERS)
Andrus began the thrid with a single through the left side, and then he created a run almost by himself. First, he stole second base on a pitch out. Next, when Borbon showed bunt, Lowell charged from the third. Borbon simply pulled his bat back, and Andrus had third base stolen. Borbon tapped a ball back at Penny, but he couldn’t snare the ball, and Andrus stole. Borbon then stole second — the third stolen base this inning, the sixth through four innings.
SOX STRAND TWO (9;23, MID 4, 2-1 RANGERS)
After Lowell grounded out, the Sox started a small, one-out rally. Ortiz walked, and Jason Varitek blooped a single to right-center. Anderson and Gonzalez each struck out swinging, though, to quickly end the threat.
BAY BLASTS AWAY (9:15, TOP 4, 2-1 RANGERS)
Bay put the Sox on the board with a bomb to left-center, a 421-foot homer on Holland’s first pitch of the inning. It was Bay’s team-leading 25th home run this season.
PENNY GRINDS IT OUT (9:12, END 3, 2-0 RANGERS)
Penny yielded another stolen base, his third of the game, but it did not cost the Sox. He started the inning by striking out Hamilton on a 94-mph fastball. Kinsler walked on stole second, then moved to third on a grounder up the middle that Gonzalez fielded smoothly. Teagarden also grounded to short to end the inning and keep the lead at two.
ELLSBURY STAYS AT SECOND (9:01, MID 3, 2-0 RANGERS)
Still no runs for the Sox, even after Ellsbury’s second opposite-field hit of the night, a double off of the left-center wall. Gonzalez led off with a liner to center. Pedroia and Martinez each grounded out.
LEAVING ‘EM LOADED (8:53, END 2, 2-0 RANGERS)
The damage could have been worse for the Sox. Texas loaded the bases after Pedroia bobbled a bouncer up the middle, seemingly unsure where he was going to throw, first or second. Penny responded by breaking Byrd’s bat on a grounder up the middle. Pedroia made this play, then flipped to Alex Gonzalez, who will lead off the third.
RANGERS ADD ANOTHER (8:50, BOT 2, 2-0 RANGERS)
The Rangers extended their lead thanks to odd play from Anderson in right. He was tracking a ball off of Elvis Andrus’s bat in the right-center gap. Just as he approached the ball, he stopped and watched it fall, then trickle to the fence. It would have been a tough, but it seemed like a strange effort. Andrus had a triple, and Borbon followed with an RBI single that landed just in front of Bay in left. Borbon stole second, where he remains with two outs after a walk by Michael Young.
KINSLER LOSES ONE (8:41, BOT 2, 1-0 RANGERS)
The Rangers take the lead on a home run by Ian Kinsler to lead off the second. Kinsler smoked a 1-2 slider just over the wall in right in his first at-bat back from the disabled list. Penny unveiled that slider a couple starts ago in Tampa, and he had been having some success with it. Not that time.
DEJA VU (8:37, MID 2, 0-0)
Another leadoff single and another three outs. You could call that a 2-3-4 inning. Mike Lowell led off with a single to left. David Ortiz flied to shallow center, Jason Varitek flied to deep center, and new arrival Brian Anderson struck out looking. He’ll fit right in as the Sox’ rightfielder.
PENNY SHUTS DOWN RALLY (8:30, END 1, 0-0)
After Borbon stole second, David Murphy walked with one out. Marlon Byrd struck out swinging, and Josh Hamilton grounded weakly to second. It was not an easy for Penny, who threw about 25 pitches. That’s significant given the 96-degree temperature at first pitch.
ELLSBURY STARTS HOT (8:19, BOT 1, 0-0)
Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single to left, but the Sox stranded him there with three straight outs. Julio Borbon led off for the Rangers with a single to left. He’s on first and a threat to steal, which means he probably will try with Brad Penny on the mound.