Red Sox Live Blog: Mike Napoli Propels Rangers Past Red Sox Again, Texas Wins 6-3

Red Sox Live Blog: Mike Napoli Propels Rangers Past Red Sox Again, Texas Wins 6-3

Final 9th, Rangers 6-3: The Red Sox were trying to rally late, but Saltalmacchia — who was pinch hitting — hit into a liner at first to end it.

Mid 9th, Rangers 6-2: Matt Albers has done his job, tossing 1 2/3 innings and allowed just one hit and walked only one batter.

Let's see how Valentine plans to adjust the bullpen after this one and if Junichi Tazawa, who was called up for Mark Melancon, could get a chance to bolster the group.

Bottom 8th, Rangers 6-2: Alexi Ogando retires the side in his inning of relief for Derek Holland.

Like Daniel Bard's ongoing transition, Ogando made the jump from reliever to starter in 2011 and flourished en route to becoming an All-Star. It can be done.

Speaking of which, Neftali Feliz is undergoing the same challenge and spoke to NESN.com about how he thought Bard would fare.

Mid 8th, Rangers 6-2: The Red Sox bullpen was the team's Achilles' heel heading into the season and it remains that way.

Fortunately for Valentine, Matt Albers has stepped up over the past few days and this time induced a inning-ending, double play.

9:35 p.m: Franklin Morales just didn't have anything in Wednesday's outing. With the bases loaded, he plunked Gentry in the ankle of all places.

Mike Napoli then crushed him, hitting a two-run double to rack up two more RBIs. After everything Napoli has done, is he now considered a Red Sox-killer? He's playing like it.

Bottom 7th, Rangers 3-2: After an impressive spring — where Bobby Valentine called him a "hitting machine" – Darnell McDonald has struggled in the regular season.

He's hitting .083 despite getting regular at-bats. It's a tough rut for him, but he's displayed penchants for coming through when necessary.

And by the way, Nate Spears is coming into the game. Bet you weren't expecting him to get some real time.

Mid 7th, Rangers 3-2: Josh Beckett is sitting nice with seven strikeouts in this one. He's retired 12 straight batters since allowing the homer to Napoli.

Also, Kevin Youkilis tossed out Ian Kinsler from third on that sequence that ended the inning. As a result, he entered the dugout to cheers of "Youk." Looks like that homer is buying him some good will.

Bottom 6th, Rangers 3-2: A quick inning there as Derek Holland retired Adrian Gonzalez, Cody Ross and David Ortiz like clockwork.

But it's time to give a nod to Ortiz for his choice of Rick Ross as his walk-up, batting music. In spring training, he used to play Ross' Stay Schemin all the time in the clubhouse. It gets me pumped up to write, too.

Also, here's an update on Jacoby Ellsbury that I meant to add.

Mid 6th, Rangers 3-2: Mike Napoli will not destroy the Red Sox anymore — at least not yet.

Beckett struck him out swinging to end the inning. He also fanned Nelson Cruz and has incorporated the cutter and curveball in there.

Now, it's a case of whether the Red Sox can provide him with some more run support for him to leave with a lead.

Bottom 5th, Rangers 3-2: It's little things sometimes that really help you recognize the strides a player is trying to make.

In the spring and in parts of the season, many critiqued Mike Aviles for not drawing enough walks. Well, he's drawn two bases on balls here in this one.

Mid 5th, Rangers 3-2: Last time out, Beckett only recorded one strikeout and that took until the eighth inning of the home opener against the Rays.

This time around, he's already racked up five strikeouts through five innings. Of course, the three runs he surrendered haven't been ideal for him.

Bottom 4th, Rangers 3-2: Kevin Youkilis grounded out this time around, but hey, one step at a time and the homer was a huge one.

Even though David Ortiz flied out in this inning, you have to give him some props for that picture-perfect slide into second base that he made in the second inning.

Mid 4th, Rangers 3-2: After hitting two bombs on Tuesday, Mike Napoli reintroduced himself to the Red Sox, blasting a two-run shot.

Heading into this game, three of Napoli's four hits in his career against Beckett were for round-trippers. Let's make that four out of five now.

On another note, he's ripping apart the Red Sox in this series.

Bottom 3rd, Red Sox 2-1: Mike Aviles continues to see the ball well and find some holes in the infield with a single.

But for the second time in this homestand, he's been picked off while looking to steal. Otherwise, Pedroia flew out and Adrian Gonzalez struck out swinging.

And Derek Holland's mustache — I mean performance — is living up to expectations.

Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-1: Josh Hamilton is still a beast and he's reminding the Red Sox with every single at-bat.

In this series, he's 5-for-7 against Boston pitchers with one home run and seven RBIs. Not too bad.

He drove in the RBI off of Beckett in this inning as well.

Bottom 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Just when it looked like Kevin Youkilis had reached his low point — with an 0-for-4 performance on Tuesday — he smacks a two-run shot.

Before the game, Bobby Valentine said he thought the third baseman needed just "that one pitch" or "bloop" to figure out his hitting, since he changed his stance.

This could be it.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: That was an 11-pitch inning for Josh Beckett. Very efficient for the Red Sox.

After a few of the misshaps in left field on Tuesday, Darnell McDonald wasn't having any such issues, rushing and tracking down a fly ball.

Bottom 1st, 0-0: Cody Ross didn't like that last strikeout call and he made sure of it. He stayed at the batter's box for awhile, taking off his gloves and looking at the umpire.

As most of you have already noticed, he's slid into the cleanup spot as Kevin Youkilis got dropped down to sixth.

Valentine wants to give Youkilis "a breather."

Mid 1st, 0-0: Elvis Andrus appeared to make some strong contact on Beckett's pitch, but it plopped down on the warning track for an out.

The cutter and fastball mix also worked well for Beckett to start the game as he struck out Ian Kinsler.

Of course, everything started off peachy on Tuesday and it turned around pretty quickly. Stay tuned.

8 a.m.: During Tuesday's 18-3 loss to the Rangers, the Red Sox (4-7) suffered their largest deficit in a loss since June 19, 2000. With that game behind them, the team will look to rebound and regroup in the second — and last — game of the short series against the Rangers (9-2).

Josh Beckett, who allowed one run in eight innings in his last start against Tampa Bay, will toe the rubber for Boston in the game that starts at 7:10 p.m.

Beckett's counterpart will be Derek Holland, who is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA for the Rangers. In his last start, he limited the Mariners to two runs in 7 1/3 innings to notch the victory. He is 2-1 in his career against the Red Sox.

For news and analysis from Fenway, follow NESN.com's live blog. Be sure to tune into NESN for the game.

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