Final, Rangers 10-0: Michael Gonzalez (or as I like to call him, Mike) works a perfect ninth to cap what can only be described as flat-out domination on the part of the Rangers.
For only the second time this year, the Sox are held to just two hits. Meanwhile, Andrew Miller turned in what may have been the worst Red Sox start of the season. Add it all up, and you have a 10-0 whitewashing. Who said this game was complicated?
Anyway, if you're not watching NESN for postgame coverage right now, you should be. Look for Tony. He'll be the bald one. Not wearing a baseball uniform.
Mid 9th, Rangers 10-0: Red Sox fans at the ballpark tonight will receive a commemorative baseball for Fenway's 700th straight sellout.
What's better, though, is that they'll also leave with the memory of Tim Wakefield striking a batter out looking — with a fastball.
Yorvit Torrealba was the victim, and a 75 mph heater was the weapon.
Oh, and to top it off, he blew 73 mph smoke by Craig Gentry to end the inning and a pretty good outing. If the Sox can get 11 in the ninth, we'll see history. Not counting on it, though.
End 8th, Rangers 10-0: Stepped away for a cup of coffee and almost missed the entire bottom of the eighth. Just kidding. But seriously, that was a fast inning.
Merkin Valdez worked a perfect frame for the Rangers in relief of Holland, but Valdez certainly got some help from his friend, Leonys Martin who had a terrific running catch.
Also, I cannot confirm that they are friends.
Mid 8th, Rangers 10-0: Thanks to Tony for the kind introduction, although I had to look up indomitable just to be sure.
Anyway, Leonys Martin picked up his first career base hit. He did it off of the knuckleball, so there has to be some sort of cool stat for how many times that has happened before.
Wake worked around arguably the greatest moment of Martin's baseball life to get out of the inning unharmed.
End 7th, Rangers 10-0: Derek Holland has set down 10 straight, and has made it look easy.
With the white flag already raised by the Red Sox, expect there to be some quick at-bats going forward.
I'm going to pass you off to the indomitable Mike Cole, who will take you through the final two innings while I kill the ratings again.
Mid 7th, Rangers 10-0: The Yankees are winning. It's a one-run lead over Toronto, but if the scores hold they are back in first place.
That would represent the 10th time this year that New York and Boston have swapped first and second. Neither team has held a lead of more than three games since late-May. If the wild card didn't exist, this may have gone down as the best chase between the two rivals in their long history.
End 6th, Rangers 10-0: Derek Holland is 6-3 (soon to be 7-3) with a 3.53 ERA (at the present time) on the road, pretty impressive numbers for a promising lefty coming into his own.
He motors through the sixth on 13 pitches and is in great shape to spare the Rangers bullpen in the series opener. Can't say the same about the Red Sox, even though none of the big guns have been used.
Mid 6th, Rangers 10-0: Easily the loudest cheer of the night comes when Tim Wakefield throws a quick 1-2-3 inning.
He picks up his 2,136th strikeout along the way. Nothing particularly special about that number, other than that it's a lot more than you or I have.
End 5th, Rangers 10-0: Derek Holland has thrown 76 pitches in five stellar frames. He has struck out five, walked none and faced only one over the minimum.
Both David Ortiz and Jed Lowrie were strikeout victims in the fifth.
Wholesale changes for the Red Sox in the sixth. Tim Wakefield is your new pitcher. Mike Aviles is in at second. Conor Jackson has moved from left to first base. Josh Reddick has taken over in left.
Almost an awkward moment when the announcement came that this was the 700th consecutive sellout and some of the Red Sox players doffed their cap. A nice touch by the players and certainly deserving for the great fans here, but it came kind of tight-lipped with the way the game has gone so far.
Mid 5th, Rangers 10-0: There were some wisecracks in the press box, and likely everywhere else, once Tim Wakefield started warming in the bullpen. Would he get his 200th win in relief, the zany folks wondered.
At the time, such a scenario would've required a big comeback by the Red Sox after Wakefield emerged from the pen. That comeback would have to be truly historic now after the Rangers score three more times in the fifth.
Matt Albers served up a solo shot to David Murphy and a two-run homer to Elvis Andrus, who has scored four times in five innings. Albers' ERA since the start of August is now 13.50.
End 4th, Rangers 7-0: You never count out an offense like that of the Red Sox, but with the way Derek Holland is throwing any semblance of a comeback may not come until he departs.
At the very least, Holland has now faced one batter over the minimum after Adrian Gonzalez punched a two-out single to left. Kevin Youkilis stared at a 94 mph fastball to end it, falling to 0-for-2 with two Ks in his return.
Speaking of pitchers departing, Michael Bowden is done after 2 2/3 innings. Matt Albers will get a couple of frames here, although the last time he was sent out in a mop-up situation to get two innings, he barely got through one and Darnell McDonald had to pitch the ninth.
Mid 4th, Rangers 7-0: An impressive five strikeouts in just 2 2/3 innings for Michael Bowden, but he did give up a run in the fourth.
Elvis Andrus reached for the third time in as many plate appearances by leading off with a single. He stole second, moved to third on a ground out and scored on Adrian Beltre's single to right.
Matt Albers was warming in the Boston bullpen. He has since taken a seat.
End 3rd, Rangers 6-0: Derek Holland is dealing right now. He's getting the ball, coming home in a hurry and throwing strikes, and the kind with which hitters cannot do much.
Holland retired Conor Jackson in his first Red Sox at-bat on a fly to right. Jason Varitek struck out some gas. Darnell McDonald bounced an easy one to Elvis Andrus at short.
Mid 3rd, Rangers 6-0: Good stuff from Michael Bowden in the third. He strikes out the side and is able to bring some order to things.
If you're wondering about Bowden's length tonight, he has not thrown more than three innings in an outing since a start last July 2.
Tim Wakefield may be in this game within an inning or two.
End 2nd, Rangers 6-0: OK, a colleague who saw a better replay is telling me Adrian Gonzalez was going to make the catch to end the second if not for the fan interference. I was on TMZ.com at the time, so I missed it.
If that's the case, I take back some of the last post. Still, a pretty bad couple of frames here, made worse when the Red Sox go in order in the bottom half of the second.
Mid 2nd, Rangers 6-0: In the midst of some of the ugliest innings the Red Sox have had all season is a pretty poor showing by the defense.
No errors have been committed, but Jed Lowrie looked bad on two plays to his left, one of which he definitely should have made and the other of which better shortstops make.
And, with two outs in the second, Adrian Gonzalez went to the short wall for a foul pop that he had lined up but couldn't haul it in. Who knows how many hands and arms and people flinging popcorn Gonzalez had to deal with reaching in (some jerk was particularly annoying), but he'll tell you he had a shot at it.
In a Murphy's Law scenario, that gave Mike Napoli new life and he ended up drawing a bases-loaded walk for the fourth out of the inning. Michael Bowden then fell behind 3-0 on Yorvit Torrealba before coming back to get him on a pop to second.
Andrew Miller's line: 1.1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 1 K. About as bad as it can get.
7:48 p.m.: We cautioned all of you itching to rid Tim Wakefield of the rotation and anoint Andrew Miller an ace of the future that we had to see more. It was just two good starts for Miller, and we had to wait a bit before rushing to judgment.
Well, now where do we stand with Miller?
He gets just one out in the second and it comes on a sacrifice bunt. The rest of the guys did this, in order: single, single, three-run homer, walk, single, walk.
Micahel Bowden is coming on with the bases loaded, one out and Adrian Beltre up. Beltre hit a grand slam against the Sox earlier this year. Even if he doesn't do that here, the Rangers have a great chance to break things open early.
End 1st, Rangers 2-0: The bottom of the first began with promise when Jacoby Ellsbury bounced a base hit to right.
It went downhill from there. Ellsbury was picked off by Derek Holland, which resulted in a career high-tying 12th caught stealing for the Red Sox leadoff hitter.
Dustin Pedroia lined to center and Adrian Gonzalez grounded to second.
Kevin Youkilis will start the second and should get a nice hand for those who missed him over the last two weeks.
Mid 1st, Rangers 2-0: It could've been worse.
Nine of the first 11 pitches Andrew Miller threw in the game were outside the zone. Within that mess was two straight walks and a balk, putting two men in scoring position with no outs and Josh Hamilton up.
A crooked number was all but guaranteed.
Miller did a nice job of striking out Hamilton for the first out on a sweeping curve and got a groundball that should've been handled at shortstop by Jed Lowrie. But Lowrie kind of smothered the ball as he dove to his left. It was a very makeable play, but goes in the books as an infield hit and an RBI for Michael Young.
Adrian Beltre, in his first Fenway Park at-bat since leaving the Red Sox, hit a sacrifice fly to center for the second run.
7:11 p.m.: Andrew Miller throws a ball up and away to Ian Kinsler. Thus begins another meeting of division leaders.
7:03 p.m.: A late lineup change for you. Carl Crawford is a late scratch due to an illness. Conor Jackson will make his Red Sox debut, batting in Crawford's seventh spot and playing left field.
Again, Jackson replaces Crawford. Everything else stays the same.
6:06 p.m.: Sorry for the lack of updates. Tending to some non-live blog matters. Since time is short, here is a quick rundown of updates, followed by the Rangers lineup.
Kevin Youkilis is back, as you know. Terry Francona expects him to be an everyday player, although a day off here and there would not be shocking.
The layoff may be beneficial to someone like Youkilis, who had a litany of small physical issues that he soldiered through before going on the disabled list.
"I'm sure he doesn't feel like it's the first game of the year, but [the down time] will do him some good," Francona said, adding that the demands of third base have taken their toll on Youkilis a bit this season.
Francona was asked about Felix Doubront, who threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings last night. Doubront is almost all the way there in his manager's eyes, but just has to improve his curveball.
"He'll have a good breaking ball, but it's got to be a little more consistent," Francona said. "There's a lot to like."
Speaking of relievers, Tim Wakefield may be one tonight. If Andrew Miller has a stunted start, Wakefield is ready to pick up the slack. Beyond tonight, Wake's role in the bullpen will be less likely since he is lined up to start Wednesday in Toronto.
Francona also talked about inserting Darnell McDonald in right field rather than Conor Jackson, which will be a decision that needs to be made every time a left-hander is on the mound. It really came down to the fact that Jackson is 0-for-8 against Rangers starter Derek Holland. McDonald has never faced Holland.
Going forward, Francona said "it'll be interesting to figure out [who starts between the two]." Right now, he admits he has no answer.
Finally, as promised, here is that Texas lineup, similar to the one that was tamed by Andrew Miller last week.
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Elvis Andrus, SS
Josh Hamilton, LF
Michael Young, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Mike Napoli, C
Yorvit Torrealba, DH
David Murphy, RF
Craig Gentry, CF
3:15 p.m.: Marco Scutaro is getting a needed day off today. Here is the lineup against left-hander Derek Holland:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Jed Lowrie, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Jason Varitek, C
Darnell McDonald, RF
3:03 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where there's a little more elbow room in the press box now that New York and its massive media contingent has left town.
Perhaps we will see them next month. For now, it's time to refocus on another potential playoff opponent.
Conor Jackson, Mike Aviles and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are taking early batting practice with Dave Magadan right now. We should know in a matter of moments if any of them are in the starting lineup tonight.
8 a.m. ET: Andrew Miller will make his third straight start since rejoining the rotation when the Red Sox begin a three-game series against the Texas Rangers on Friday night at Fenway Park.
Miller earned another start by dominating the Rangers his last time out. He allowed three hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings to pick up a win in his first career outing against the American League West leaders.
Boston is 9-1 in games started by Miller.
Texas counters with a lefty of its own in Derek Holland. He is 6-3 with a 3.76 ERA on the road this year.
The series marks the return of Adrian Beltre to Boston. In his one season with the Red Sox, the current Rangers third baseman hit .321 with 28 home runs and 102 RBIs.
First pitch from Miller is expected at 7:10 p.m.