Headliner: The Rangers were hoping that Dustin Nippert could find a way to keep them in the game against the Red Sox on Wednesday night. But Nippert did more than that in his spot start for Vicente Padilla, pitching 5 2/3 innings and allowing just one earned run on five hits. The tall righty struck out five and walked two on 94 pitches for his second win in three starts this season. The only real mistake Nippert made all night was a solo home run he allowed to Nick Green in the third inning.
Dirt Dog: The Rangers running game allowed them to move around the bases with ease, giving Jason Varitek and the Red Sox pitching staff problems all night. The Rangers were a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen bases with Elvis Andrus, Marlon Byrd, David Murphy and Ian Kinsler all swiping one base and Nelson Cruz stealing two. The Rangers stole second base five times and third base once in their marathon on the base paths, causing plenty of chaos for the Red Sox pitchers.
Better luck next time: Buchholz didn't look as good in his second start of the year as he did in his first, taking the loss in the series finale against the Rangers. He lasted just four innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits to fall to 1-1 on the season. Buchholz did strike out three, but walked two and allowed eight men to reach base. Buchholz's biggest problem was his pitch count, which got extremely high in the first two innings as he needed 40 pitches to record the first six outs of the game. It took 90 pitches for Buchholz to get through four innings.
Key moment: Tied 1-1 in the fourth inning, Cruz and Murphy started the frame with back-to-back singles against Buchholz. With runners on first and third, Taylor Teagarden grounded out to second to score Cruz and give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. Andrus came up with Murphy on third and one out and laid a perfect squeeze bunt down the first-base line, forcing Buchholz to field the ball, which allowed Murphy to score and increase the Rangers lead to 3-1. The Rangers were able to hold the two-run advantage for the final five innings to sweep the three-game set against the Red Sox.
On deck: The Red Sox will have a long plane ride back to Boston with a day off on Thursday to think about their five-game losing skid. On Friday, the Red Sox open a seven-game homestand against the Orioles with Brad Penny (6-4, 5.02) facing Brad Bergesen (6-4, 3.51) in the first game. The Red Sox will play a three-game weekend set against the Orioles and then a four-game series with the A's.
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