Molina became the first catcher in major league history and just the eighth player overall to hit a grand slam as part of a cycle. While the triple he legged out in the eighth was notable, especially considering how slow he is, it was the homer that made the difference.
"That grand slam really hurt us," said catcher Kevin Cash, who saw his batterymate Felix Doubront leave the mound in the fifth with a 3-2 lead that turned into a 7-3 deficit in a hurry.
Doubront had another pretty good outing but killed himself with two throwing errors. His stint as a replacement may have come to an end as Clay Buchholz is on his way back, but he will return to help this team out soon, perhaps even earlier than September call-ups.
The 23-year-old has made quite an impression.
"He's got a great feel, a great aptitude for pitching," Terry Francona said. "He's gonna be good. He's got a bright future."
As for if/when Doubront heads back to Pawtucket, that remains to be seen. Francona said Manny Delcarmen will be activated Saturday and there may be another move coming, but the club will not announce it until pregame.
We will get you that info just as soon as we hear it. Then, starting at 7:10 p.m., John Lackey and Cliff Lee square off.
Final, Rangers 8-4: The Sox have lost three in a row at home, seven of nine overall and are now six games back in the American League East after another relatively easy Rangers victory.
Boston, which still leads the majors in runs scored, has been held to five or less in eight of its last nine games.
Back in a bit with all the postgame reaction.
Mid 9th, Rangers 8-4: It'll be Bill Hall, Kevin Cash, Marco Scutaro and a prayer against Texas closer Neftali Feliz in the ninth. Remember, Cliff Lee is looming as the Rangers' starter Saturday, making this one sting a bit more.
End 8th, Rangers 8-4: There was the threat of a comeback in the bottom of the eighth inning for the Sox after David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis both reached. A strikeout and two long flyouts ends that threat and puts the Sox on the verge of another tough setback. Just not a lot of juice with this club right now.
Dustin Richardson is the fifth Boston pitcher of the night.
Mid 8th, Rangers 8-4: When Bengie Molina is cruising into third base with a triple and finishing a cycle, it just might not be your night. The Sox have six outs to prove otherwise.
Molina, who left after reaching third safely with an undisclosed injury, got the triple when his drive to center glanced off the glove of Eric Patterson. It goes into the books as the completion of one of the more unlikely cycles in major league history, but Patterson should've had it.
It is the first cycle by a Red Sox opponent in Fenway Park since Andre Thornton did it for Cleveland on April 22, 1978.
Molina's replacement, Joaquin Arias, scored later on a sacrifice fly. He was a likely out until Sox catcher Kevin Cash couldn't handle J.D. Drew's throw home.
End 7th, Rangers 7-4: This isn't meant to jump on these guys while they are down, but simply to point out how hampered the Sox are with some of these replacements. Eric Patterson and Kevin Cash are a combined 0-for-7 with five strikeouts and are hitting a collective .164 on the season.
Ramon Ramirez is on the mound to pitch the eighth.
Mid 7th, Rangers 7-4: Hideki Okajima gets a rare scoreless inning to keep the Sox within shouting distance. If they do rally and win this thing, they will be gaining on only Tampa Bay in the American League East.
The Yankees just got a walk-off win on the night they honored George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard, moving three games up on the Rays and, for the time being, six ahead of Boston.
End 6th, Rangers 7-4: The Sox get one run back, but the Rangers will take that outcome. Boston had runners at second and third, no outs and the crowd into it for the first time in hours. J.D. Drew's sacrifice fly is all that comes of it.
Hideki Okajima is the fourth Red Sox pitcher of the night. He has pitched once this month and it was all the way back on July 6. The lefty has given up at least one run in four of his last five outings.
Mid 6th, Rangers 7-3: That's a little more like it. Fernando Cabrera gives up a one-out single but then induces a 5-4-3 double play as the rain starts to fall once more at Fenway.
The heart of the Red Sox order is due up against Matt Harrison. Colby Lewis gave up three runs in five innings, striking out seven and walking one.
End 5th, Rangers 7-3: Nothing doing for the Sox in the fifth. Fernando Cabrera is out again to try and keep Boston in this one.
Texas may need to go to its bullpen soon and when it does the man answering the call will be bullpen coach Andy Hawkins, who knows a thing or two about needing a reliever in Fenway Park.
Hawkins had a 162.00 ERA in three career starts at Fenway. He gave up 18 runs in one inning, walking six and striking out none. Again, that's 18 runs in one inning of work.
In each of his three starts here, Hawkins retired exactly one man. He gave up eight runs, five runs and five runs, respectively, before being replaced. It might make you feel a bit better about things to know that Hawkins was with the Yankees at the time.
Mid 5th, Rangers 7-3: This one went sour in an instant, starting with Felix Doubront's second throwing error with two outs in the top of the fifth and then ending with a horrible 2010 debut for Fernando Cabrera.
Cabrera entered with runners on second and third with two outs but proceeded to walk the first two men he faced to force in the tying run. Bengie Molina, a quality acquisition for the Rangers that was severely overshadowed by the Cliff Lee trade, smacked his fifth career grand slam to straightaway center to cap the scoring.
It is the first grand slam by a Texas catcher since Jim Sundberg in 1975.
No disrespect to Doubront or Cabrera, but it just shows how much the Red Sox are clawing their way through this series, using a host of Triple-A arms (Robert Manuel and Dustin Richardson went Thursday). Nobody is warming in the Boston bullpen.
9:49 p.m.: A strange end to a strange night for Felix Doubront. On the last pitch he throws Josh Hamilton hits a screaming line drive that Doubront snags before turning to second to try to double off Michael Young. But he throws the ball into center field, allowing runners to advance to second and third with two outs in the fifth.
Doubront, who committed two errors, has yet to be charged with any earned runs. He will not be eligible for the win.
Fernando Cabrera, whose contract was selected earlier Friday, is on in relief.
End 4th, Red Sox 3-2: Terry Francona insisted that Adrian Beltre was not 100 percent and said he would use a pinch runner if he had to, but did want Beltre's bat in the lineup against Colby Lewis. We can see why.
Beltre followed up one of the hardest singles you will ever see back in the second inning with a long home run in the fourth. It is his 14th of the season, and follows up a dramatic batting practice for the All-Star third baseman.
Mid 4th, 2-2: Seconds after Felix Doubront throws his first pitch of the fourth inning it begins to rain again. They will likely play through it this time. Doubront works around a one-out double on a ball that J.D. Drew got turned around on in right.
Doubront struck out two and has five Ks in the last three innings.
9:19 p.m.: You have to like the way Felix Doubront took the mound to restart this one, sprinting from the Sox bullpen to the mound. We are just about set to get going again. The Rangers will have the bottom of the order up in the top of the fourth.
9:13 p.m.: As we watch Felix Doubront warm back up in the Boston bullpen, there is a final line on Clay Buchholz's rehab outing in Syracuse. Buchholz gave up a solo homer in the first and was finished after allowing two runs on four hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Jed Lowrie is a triple shy of the cycle in that contest. You will be hearing more from him soon.
8:56 p.m.: The tarp is being removed and we just got word that the game will be picked up in the top of the fourth inning at around 9:20 p.m. We assume Felix Doubront will come back out after a wait of more than an hour, but we have no confirmation as of yet.
8:21 p.m.: The tarp is going on the field as the storm we were waiting for is here. We will update you when we hear more, but it looks like this will pass eventually.
End 3rd, 2-2: As the rain begins to fall at Fenway the Sox go quietly in the third. David Ortiz is 0-for-6 with two Ks since winning the Home Run Derby, so cue the alarm that it messed him up.
Mid 3rd, 2-2: Felix Doubront has settled in a bit here. He works around a two-out walk in the third by throwing a high fastball that Nelson Cruz foul-tips into the mitt. Doubront has two strikeouts.
There was a chance for some "violent" storms in the forecast and to see the sky above Fenway Park, one would understand why. Also, the wind is whipping a bit. Get ready for a delay.
End 2nd, 2-2: The slumping Red Sox offense referenced two posts ago has awoken, with a little help from an extremely erratic Colby Lewis in the bottom of the second.
Lewis did not record an out until the 21st pitch of the inning and ended up throwing 31 total in the frame.
Kevin Youkilis started it with a double and scored on J.D. Drew's single to right. Adrian Beltre marked his return to the lineup with a ringing single off the Green Monster and, after a walk to Daniel Nava, an ugly wild pitch scored Drew from third.
Lewis managed to strike out the next three hitters to escape any further trouble.
Mid 2nd, Rangers 2-0: Two more hits against Felix Doubront put the rookie in a bind in the second. He freezes Elvis Andrus on a 93 mph fastball at the knees and gets Michael Young on a comebacker to escape the jam.
Doubront's streak without allowing a home run this year is now at 82 1/3 innings. That includes all three levels at which he has pitched.
End 1st, Rangers 2-0: We have to go back to before the All-Star break for this stat, but the Sox have now scored a total of five runs in their last 26 innings after a 1-2-3 first.
There are some easier outs in the lineup with all the injuries and it seems to be showing a bit of late.
Mid 1st, Rangers 2-0: In six innings at Fenway Park this year, Felix Doubront has committed two errors. In both instances, it has led to two unearned runs. The Rangers have now scored eight times in the first innings of this series after a Doubront throwing error leads to some early damage.
The young lefty actually made a nice play to pounce on Elvis Andrus's chopper, but threw into the runner at first, allowing Andrus to get all the way to second.
Andrus moved to third on a grounder and then a single by Ian Kinsler made it 1-0. Nelson Cruz's RBI hit two batters later made it 2-0, but Vladimir Guerrero was thrown out at third on the play for the last out.
Doubront threw 21 pitches. Obviously guys like Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard are extremely rested, but the middle men had to eat up seven innings Thursday night.
7:07 p.m.: Ron Washington seems to be a pretty good manager and the results have been there, so who am I to question him. But he has Josh Hamilton in center field the night after his slugger left with a sore knee. Yours truly saw Hamilton limping in the Rangers' clubhouse earlier in the day.
Still, Hamilton remains a force. He had a career-high three doubles in just seven innings Thursday and is batting .444 with 13 home runs since the start of June.
A few people may have forgotten a bit about Hamilton when he had an injury-plagued 2009 campaign, but he may be reasserting himself as the best offensive force in the league. I just think he should be DH'd for this one.
6:10 p.m.: We talked Thursday night about how big a game this one might be for the Red Sox. Cliff Lee pitches Saturday for the Rangers and C.J. Wilson — who dominated Boston here back in April — goes Sunday, all in advance of a 10-game road trip out that comes without a day off.
Not to be all gloom and doom, but you can see some cause for concern if Texas walks out of here with a series win. While many star players are on the way back for the Sox, most will not be ready to go until after the trip.
The club has already dropped five games in the AL East standings since the start of the month.
It makes it somewhat difficult to find out who to root for in the series between Tampa Bay and New York, which begins Friday. If you feel as if Boston can still catch the Yankees, then root for the Rays and hope that the division tightens up a bit.
If five games is too much for the Sox to overcome, what with the injuries and the tough slate, then maybe one hopes for the Yankees to run away with things and sets their sight on the wild card.
Frankly, it still seems too early for the latter. But if this upcoming stretch is as tough as it looks, then second place may be a goal going forward.
5:45 p.m.: Barring a medical miracle, Dustin Pedroia will not make it back for the Red Sox' upcoming 10-game road trip, a goal he had during the All-Star break. Both he and Jason Varitek received CT scans on their broken left foots Friday.
Pedroia's scan showed good healing and he is off crutches but will have to wear a boot for up to two more weeks. He will be re-examined around that time. It is possible he could return for the club's homestand that bridges July and August, or the series in New York the first weekend of next month.
Varitek remains a couple of weeks behind Pedroia after his scan showed no significant healing. Among the other happenings at Fenway Park on Friday:
– Robert Manuel, who pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings Thursday, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Fernando Cabrera had his contract selected to take his place. It may just be for a day as Manuel would not have been available Friday and Manny Delcarmen will be activated Saturday, Terry Francona confirmed.
– Delcarmen threw nine pitches for Double-A Portland on Thursday, working a 1-2-3 inning. He was in the Sox clubhouse Friday afternoon.
– Jeremy Hermida will play the outfield for the first time in his rehab assignment Friday for Portland. He went 2-for-4 as the designated hitter Thursday.
– Clay Buchholz pitches for Pawtucket at Syracuse on Friday. We will update his results when we get them.
– Jed Lowrie is slowly coming into the picture. His rehab has moved to Pawtucket and Terry Francona got a glowing report last night.
"We got a report that was about as upbeat as we've seen in a long time. The last four, five days the light has come on with Jed. He's starting to turn the corner, we're starting to see the player that we've all talked about. He's not dragging. He doesn't feel fatigued and I think he feels pretty good about himself."
Lowrie will use up all 20 days of his rehab stint, which would make him available in early August.
– There has been no new report on Jacoby Ellsbury.
– David Ortiz recived his Home Run Derby trophy. It has two silver bats crossed and was admired by many who passed by it.
4:47 p.m.: The Sox have optioned reliever Robert Manuel to Pawtucket and selected the contract of Fernando Cabrera, a cosmetic move for one day in that Manny Delcarmen will be activated Saturday. Also, Adrian Beltre is back in the lineup but is still not quite 100 percent and may have to play through some pain for a bit. Here is the starting lineup for both teams:
Marco Scutaro, SS
Eric Patterson, CF
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
J.D. Drew, RF
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Daniel Nava, LF
Bill Hall, 2B
Kevin Cash, C
Elvis Andrus, SS
Michael Young, 3B
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Vladimir Guerrero, DH
Josh Hamilton, CF
Nelson Cruz, RF
David Murphy, LF
Bengie Molina, C
Chris Davis, 1B
Full updates on Dustin Pedroia (off crutches and up to two weeks from taking off his boot) and Jason Varitek (not nearly as far along) in a bit.
3:20 p.m.: Dustin Pedroia is on the field putting weight on his broken left foot and without crutches, so we know that his test results were favorable. Victor Martinez has just stepped into the batting cage. He said Thursday night that batting from the right side still caused him some pain in his broken left thumb. So far his only swings are coming from the left side.
3:12 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where the sun is now hiding but it feels like a sauna. We await the updates on the condition of Dustin Pedroia and Jason Varitek, both of whom underwent scans on their broken feet early Friday.
Once we hear from the team on those two players we will pass it on. We are also waiting to see if Adrian Beltre is good to go at third base after getting a night off in the opener.
Back in a bit with the lineups.
8:52 a.m.: Felix Doubront will face another stiff challenge when he makes his third major league start Friday against the Texas Rangers.
Doubront has been solid in his first two outings, getting a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers last month and suffering a tough loss at Tampa Bay. He has not pitched in 10 days.
The Sox hope the 23-year-old can at least eat some innings against a potent Rangers attack that erupted for six runs in the first on Thursday en route to a 7-2 victory. Tim Wakefield lasted just two-plus innings. The Boston bullpen combined to throw seven scoreless.
Colby Lewis goes for Texas, which snapped a four-game losing streak in the series opener.
First pitch is 7:10 p.m.
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