Friday night's memorable come-from-behind victory was quickly erased on Saturday night by a lackluster showing in Texas. The Red Sox could only muster two runs against 22-year-old Derek Holland as the Rangers beat the Sox, cutting Boston's wild-card lead back to just 1/2 game.
Holland was thoroughly unimpressive yet extraordinarily effective in
his outing. Coming off his best start of the year on Sunday against the
Angels, Holland lasted 6 2/3 innings, allowing just two earned runs on
two solo home runs.
He scattered five other hits and walked two batters, but kept the Sox' offense in check.
Headliner: Julio Borbon, making just his fourth start of the year, and Elvis Andrus wreaked havoc on the basepaths for the Rangers all night. Andrus, the No. 9 hitter, and Borbon, batting leadoff, combined to go 7-for-9 at the plate with seven stolen bases and five runs scored.
Andrus hit a triple in the bottom of the second and scored on a Borbon single, as the two made the difference for the Rangers.
Dirt Dog: Jacoby Ellsbury and Victor Martinez accounted for 50 percent of Boston's hits. Ellsbury went 2-for-3 with a walk, while Martinez went 2-for-4 with a home run. Ellsbury also stole his 53rd base of the year.
For the Rangers, Ian Kinsler deserves the "Dirt Dog" title. In his first game back from the disabled list, the second baseman went 2-for-3 with a solo home run and a walk before taking a Fernando Cabrera pitch off the helmet in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Better Luck Next Time: At times, Brad Penny looks competent — above average, even. But at some point, Penny is going to need to pitch seven innings. While he may occasionally pick up a win or two by going five or six innings, the Sox needed more from him tonight.
He deserves credit for digging down deep and throwing a season-high 121 pitches, but his pitch count was at 93 after just four innings.
He also once again proved incapable of holding runners on base, as Borbon and Andrus ran at will.
Penny is now 7-7 with a 5.22 ERA.
Right fielder Brian Anderson, playing in his first game with the Red Sox, didn't help matters, striking out twice and misplaying a flyball to right that turned into a triple to Andrus.
Key Moment: With Frank Francisco likely unavailable, the Red Sox would have had a chance to come back late in the game if they could have just kept it close.
They couldn't, as the Rangers tacked on three runs in the seventh and eighth innings and stretched the lead to five runs.
On Deck: In what could be the hottest game of the season, Junichi Tazawa (1-1, 4.05 ERA) will get his second major league start. He'll be opposed by Dustin Nippert (3-1, 3.62 ERA). The game begins at 2:05 p.m. in the East, 1:05 p.m. in Texas. The temperature is expected to be hovering around 100 degrees.