Game over: Rangers 3, Red Sox 2: The Rangers still have the best record in the American League. Boston’s three-game winning streak is over. Joe Nathan retired the Sox in order (groundouts from Iglesias, Bradley and Nava) to end the game. Thanks for following along.
Top 9th: Rangers 3, Red Sox 2: Andrew Bailey pitching now. Retires Baker (line out to left) and Profar (fly out to right) with ease, effectively rotating through three pitches (fastballs, cutters and curves). However he relies heavily on the fastball against Gentry (six of seven pitches) and struggles with control. Gentry walks. But the inning ends as Gentry is caught stealing. Last licks now for the Sox.
Bottom 8th: Rangers 3, Red Sox 2: Righty Tanner Scheppers is in. Pedroia flies out to center bringing up David Ortiz (0-for-2 with a walk). Big Papi, who spent most of batting practice today hanging with Little Papi, grounds out. Napoli walks for the second time tonight (and fifth time in the past two days) to extend the inning. Saltalamacchia rings one down the right field line, which scores Pedroia. An RBI double for the catcher, who was previously 0-for-3 tonight. And now the first all-stadium “Lets Go Red Sox!” chant of the night. It doesn’t last long as Drew grounds out to end the inning.
Top 8th: Rangers 3, Red Sox 1: Junichi Tazawa in for the Sox. Retires the first three batters (groundout, strikeout, fly out) in just eight pitches, with his fastballs consistently hitting 92 and 93. On to Sweet Caroline and likely another Rangers relief pitcher.
Bottom 7th: Rangers 3, Red Sox 1: Drew leads off with a walk and Cotts’ night is done. Robbie Ross, a 23-year-old lefty, warms up on the mound as Queen’s “Under Pressure” plays in Fenway (a song recorded before he was born). Iglesias (also 23) singles to right field. But Bradley (another member of the 23 club) strikes out swinging to leave runners on first and second. Nava grounds out softly, allowing the runners to advance. Jonny Gomes, pinch hitting, flies out to center field.
Top 7th: Rangers 3, Red Sox 1: Lackey’s night is done as Breslow will begin the inning. Lackey’s final line: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. Over his past four games, Lackey’s ERA is 1.44. Also hot? The Sox bullpen, which enters tonight with a 1.69 ERA over the last five games.
Breslow surrenders a hard-hit double by Moreland, which bounced down the right field line. Profar attempts a sac bunt but it’s a fail as he is called out at first base and Jeff Baker (pinch running for Moreland) can not advance. Martin walks and Breslow will be sent to the dugout as Koji Uehara is in to pitch for the Sox. And that great bullpen ERA I mentioned? It’s going to go up. Andrus swings at his first pitch — and it’s a really good swing. A two-run double to center field. Uehara retires the next two batters but the Sox are behind, yet again.
Bottom 6th: Rangers 1, Red Sox 1: Arguably the loudest cheer of the night (so far) occurs in the middle of the sixth inning as the scoreboard flashes some highlights from the Bruins game (B’s are up, 1-0, on the Cup favorite Penguins and could take a shocking 3-0 lead in the series). Back at this end of town, Ogando retires Nava and Carp on a combined four pitches. And then the Red Sox showed life. Remember when I said the Bruins drew the largest cheers so far? Consider them upstaged. Pedroia sends a 92 mph cutter high, and long and — over the Green Monster. That one seemed to float in the air for a while.
That’s Pedroia’s fourth homer of the season and that’s it for Ogando tonight. His line: 5.2 IP, 3H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO and one home run, which ultimately was his unraveling. Neal Cotts comes in relief. Ortiz and Napoli draw walks but Saltalamacchia strikes out (93 mph fastball) to end the inning. The catcher is now 0-for-3.
Top 6th: Rangers 1, Red Sox 0: Lackey begins the inning with 96 pitches, though Craig Breslow is warming up in the bullpen before he has a chance to throw 97. Lackey lures back-to-back fly outs from Berkman and Beltre, but hits Cruz with a pitch (who later steals second base). But Lackey will exit the inning at 108 pitches, retiring Pierzynski with a groundout.
Bottom 5th: Rangers 1, Red Sox 0: Saltalamacchia flies out to deep and Drew strikes out to lead off. But Iglesias saves the Red Sox from registering another 1-2-3 inning by drawing a four-pitch walk. That was Iglesias’ second walk in the majors. Doesn’t amount to much as Bradley strikes out. Pitch count for Ogando is 83, but there looks like there was some movement in the Texas bullpen toward the end of that inning.
Top 5th: Rangers 1, Red Sox 0: A 20 pitch inning for Lackey which includes two ground outs, two singles and a strikeout (not in that order). Lackey is now at 96 pitches (67 are strikes) but seems to be losing some velocity. He hit 92 mph on his fastball just twice and is drawing some long at bats.
Bottom 4th: Rangers 1, Red Sox 0: When Ogando faced the Sox earlier this season (a 5-1 Rangers win), Boston struggled with sending runners home. The Sox went 1-for-9 with RISP that game. Tonight, they’re off to a similar start. Batting second, Mike Carp sent a ball deep to center field. It was, perhaps, inches from becoming his fifth homer of the season. He had to settle for a double. Pedroia drew a walk leaving Ogando with a daunting task: retire David Ortiz with one out and runners on first and second. Ogando delivers, as Ortiz swung and missed on a 96 miles per hour fastball. Carp and Pedroia advance to third and second, respectively, on a wild pitch but Napoli strikes out to end the inning. A handful of Ogando’s fastballs were clocked at 96 on the Fenway scoreboard. He’s in good shape so far with only 66 pitches through four innings.
Top 4th: Rangers 1, Red Sox 0: Lackey finishes the inning with his pitch count at 75. The number rose after Murphy began the inning with an eight pitch at bat. Berkman followed by drawing seven pitches before striking out looking on a 92 miles per hour fastball. Both at bats were perhaps omens that Lackey, who seems to be extremely reliant on his fastball tonight, is breaking down a bit. Sure enough, the next batter is Adrian Beltre, who — on a 1-2 count — hits his 12th homer of the season and the Rangers are on the scoreboard first. Cruz follows it up with a double but Pierzynski ends the inning by striking out.
Bottom 3rd: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Between innings the scoreboard zoomed in on a familiar face. Carlton Fisk — wearing a baseball hat and polo shirt — receives a nice ovation as he waves to the crowd. Meanwhile, Stephen Drew leads off the inning with a line drive to center field. A solid single, but Drew tried to stretch into a double. Risk didn’t pay off. He’s called out, which draws boos from the crowd and a “conversation” between Farrell in the ump. Saw the replay and think Drew had a good case. Regardless, inning is over as Jose Iglesias and Jackie Bradley Jr. can’t get on base.
Top 3rd: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Mitch Moreland is the first Texas batter to crack Lackey. After falling behind 0-2 in the count, Moreland works an 11-pitch at bat which culminates in a double off the Green Monster. Moreland advances to third on a Jurickson Profar groundout. Moreland stays at third as Leonys Martin also grounds out and is eventually stranded as Andrus flies out to right field to end the inning.
Bottom 2nd: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: David Ortiz sent a fly ball to center field on his second pitch, but Mike Napoli worked the count to earn a walk, marking the first baserunner of this (young) game. He didn’t advance far. Jared Saltalmacchia grounded into a double play and that will do it for the inning.
Top 2nd: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Nelson Cruz has pretty good numbers at Fenway. Entering tonight, he was 26-for-63 in 16 career games here, with four home runs and 14 RBI. But batting second in the inning tonight, Cruz was the latest victim of Lackey’s good start. Cruz struck out swinging on — you guessed it — a fastball to highlight another 1-2-3 inning for Lackey.
Bottom 1st: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: Alexi Ogando saw what Lackey did in the top of the inning. And then he went out there and matched him. Ogando retired the Sox in order. Daniel Nava grounded out, Mike Carp swung and missed on an 84 miles per hour slider then Dustin Pedroia smacked one to right field, but not hard enough. Ogando exited the inning throwing just 13 pitches, nine of them strikes.
Top 1st: Rangers 0, Red Sox 0: That was a quick top of the first. Lackey retired Texas’ first three batters — Elvis Andrus, David Murphy and Lance Berkman — in order. He needed just 16 pitches to do it. Of those 16 pitches, 11 were strikes. His fastball topped at 94 miles per hour and caught Murphy looking with a 94 mph fastball on an 0-2 count.
Pregame Good evening from Fenway Park. This is Emily Kaplan, the Globe’s summer intern, and I’ll be manning the blog tonight as the Red Sox (36-23) face the Rangers (35-22) in the second game of a three game set. A win tonight would spring Boston ahead of Texas for the best record in the American League — a scenario most thought was unfathomable a few months ago. The Sox are looking for their fourth-straight, and they’ve fared well at Fenway lately — winning five of their last six games here while outscoring opponents 48-21 in that stretch. The run differential is a bit skewed, of course, after last night’s offensive outburst which included a season-high 17 runs, four homers and 13 extra base hits (one triple from the always-speedy David Ortiz).
Some personnel notes: Jacoby Ellsbury will miss his fifth-straight game and Daniel Nava will remain in the leadoff spot. On the mound, it’s righty Alexi Ogando (4-2, 3.08 ERA) for Texas and John Lackey (3-5, 2.96) for Boston. Over his last three starts, Lackey is 2-1 with a 1.42 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .141 off him in that stretch. Will he post another solid outing? Stay tuned for live updates.