Red Sox Live Blog: Rangers Hold Off Resilient Sox for 10-9 Victory in Series Finale


Red Sox Live Blog: Rangers Hold Off Resilient Sox for 10-9 Victory in Series FinaleFinal, Rangers 10-9: The Red Sox showed a lot of resiliency in this game, battling back from a four-run, seventh-inning deficit to tie the game. But in the end, the Rangers were too much.

Will Middlebrooks' dramatic three-run shot in the seventh wasn't enough to catapult the Sox in the direction of a victory, as the Rangers put up a run in the ninth on a sacrifice fly by old friend Adrian Beltre.

Joe Nathan then closed the door in the bottom of the ninth to secure the victory, despite Cody Ross' one-out double momentarily giving the Sox hope.

Beckett was brutal in this one way back when, surrendering eight earned runs on eight hits in five innings of work. The loss closes out a 4-6 homestand for Boston, which now travels to Cleveland for a four-game set with the Indians.

Mid 9th, Rangers 10-9: Nelson Cruz walked after the umpires' foul call was upheld. Michael Young nearly added the insurance two pitches later, but Ellsbury tracked down his deep drive at the edge of the warning track.

Aceves struck out David Murphy to retire the side, but not before the Rangers recaptured the lead.

We head to the bottom of the ninth, with the Red Sox looking to avoid another loss and falling to two games below .500. They'll send Adrian Gonzalez, Cody Ross and Will Middlebrooks up against Joe Nathan in the ninth.

4:52 p.m., Rangers 10-9: Foul ball! The umpires determined that Cruz's blast did, in fact, travel to the left of the left-field foul pole.

That's huge for the Red Sox, as it would've given the Rangers some insurance by upping their lead to 12-9.

4:49 p.m., Rangers 10-9: We now have ourselves a review.

Nelson Cruz blasted Aceves' offering down the left-field line. It was initially ruled foul, but Cruz and the Rangers are contesting it was fair, which will bring the umpires together to take a look.

4:46 p.m., Rangers 10-9: The Rangers have regained the lead. Adrian Beltre drove a flyball to left-center that was deep enough to get the job done.

4:43 p.m., 9-9: Clayton Mortensen pitched pretty well after taking over for Josh Beckett, but his pitch count got up there and the Rangers started to get to him.

After Elvis Andrus worked a walk to begin the ninth, Josh Hamilton delivered a base hit to right field that sent Andrus over to third.

Alfredo Aceves now takes over with two on and nobody out.

End 8th, 9-9: The Red Sox were unable to capitalize on their seventh-inning momentum in the eighth, as Alexi Ogando proved to be too much.

Ogando reached 100-mph on the radar gun while retiring Ellsbury, Crawford and Pedroia in order.

Crawford put together a nice at-bat, fouling off a number of pitches, including one that nearly landed fair down the right-field line. It would've put Crawford on second base, but his blooper landed just to the right of the white line. There isn't a lot of foul territory down there, but he managed to find it.

Crawford eventually grounded out to first base, and Pedroia grounded out to short to end the inning.

The Rangers will send up Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre in the top of the ninth.

Mid 8th, 9-9: Clayton Mortensen was able to work around a walk in the eighth, and the Sox will come up with the game still tied.

After Mortensen struck out Geovany Soto swinging, he issued a free pass to Mitch Moreland. Mortensen was able to buckle down against Ian Kinsler, though, inducing a 5-4-3 double play on the first pitch he delivered to the Rangers second baseman.

The Red Sox will send the top of the order — Ellsbury, Pedroia and Crawford — to the plate in the home half of the eighth.

End 7th, 9-9: Alexi Ogando relieved Roy Oswalt after Middlebrooks' monstrous home run, and he shut the door on the Boston offense. Ogando struck out both Ryan Lavarnway and Kelly Shoppach, and then forced Pedro Ciriaco to ground out.

Ogando demonstrated some nasty stuff upon taking over, but a four-run inning for the Sox has us right back where we started.

It looks like Clayton Mortensen will be back out for the eighth inning, which will mark his third inning of work.

4:13 p.m., 9-9: Wow. The Red Sox just won't go away. Will Middlebrooks has tied this game at nine apiece.

Middlebrooks ripped a three-run shot off Roy Oswalt over the Green Monster in left with nobody out, and we've got ourselves a whole new ballgame.

Before Middlebrooks' game-changing blast, Adrian Gonzalez proved that he's a doubles machine this afternoon. The Red Sox first baseman ripped his third double of the day in the seventh, resulting in Boston's sixth run of the game at the time.

Gonzalez's third double scored Dustin Pedroia, who hit a ball to begin the inning that just exploded on Mitch Moreland at first base for a hit.

Cody Ross drew a walk following Gonzalez's double, and Middlebrooks then took it upon himself to tie things up. Nice inning, Will.

Mid 7th, Rangers 9-5: Nelson Cruz may forever be labeled a World Series goat, but the guy certainly possesses some power. Cruz golfed a slider from Mortensen out of the yard to give the Rangers a 9-5 edge.

Mortensen had retired all five batters he faced before allowing the blast to Cruz. He got some help to begin the inning, though, as Jacoby Ellsbury made a great playing going back up against the center-field wall on a line shot off the bat of Josh Hamilton.

Michael Young followed up Cruz's home run with base hit up the middle, but Pedro Ciriaco then reeled in a pop-up despite some confusion with Carl Crawford to end the inning.

End 6th, Rangers 8-5: Roy Oswalt was able to keep the Boston offense in check in the sixth, and the Rangers maintain their three-run lead.

Oswalt started the inning by striking out Pedro Ciriaco The right-hander dropped the hook on Ciriaco, which froze the Sox infielder.

Oswalt wasn't done in the K department, though. He struck out Jacoby Ellsbury for the inning's second out, sitting the center fielder down with a 93-mph four-seamer.

Carl Crawford at least made contact, but it didn't amount to much. The left fielder simply rolled one over to Ian Kinsler at second for the third and final out.

Clayton Mortensen is coming back out for a second inning of work after retiring all three batters he faced upon taking over for Beckett in the sixth. First, he'll have some work done on the Fenway mound, where he struggled to gain traction a number of times last inning.

Mid 6th, Rangers 8-5: Clayton Mortensen took over for Beckett (who left to a sea of boos), and he retired all three batters he faced in the inning in order.

Mortensen kept Mitch Moreland in the yard this time around, inducing a flyout to left field. Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus, who had been 3-for-3, then each grounded out to Pedro Ciriaco at short to end the inning.

The Red Sox offense now faces a taller task, however, as Bobby V. simply left an ineffective Beckett in too long.

Beckett exited the game upon giving up eight runs (all earned) on eight hits, three of which were home runs, in five innings of work. Not exactly encouraging stuff.

3:37 p.m., Rangers 8-5: Bobby Valentine sent Josh Beckett out for another inning of work, and it proved to be the wrong decision.

Beckett's pitch count was low, so it made sense from that standpoint, but the right-hander could hardly be described as efficient toward the end of his outing.

Beckett gave up a base hit to David Murphy to begin the sixth inning, and then Geovany Soto took him deep into the Monster Seats, extending Texas' lead to 8-5.

As quick as the Red Sox scored their two runs in the fifth, they've lost them in the sixth. The boo birds have arrived.

End 5th, Rangers 6-5: The Sox pushed across a run one pitch into Oswalt's appearance. As Kelly Shoppach swung and missed, a passed ball traveled past Geovany Soto, allowing Gonzalez to score from third.

Shoppach would eventually strike out, though, stranding the tying run at third and the go-ahead run at second.

3:23 p.m., Rangers 6-4: Carl Crawford got the fifth inning going by shooting a triple down the right-field line. It extends his hitting streak to six games, during which he's now batting .440.

Crawford was nearly wiped off the bases when Dustin Pedroia shot a groundball down to Beltre at third. Crawford got caught up between third and home, but Beltre ultimately elected to fire to first base for the sure out as Crawford retreated.

He wouldn't retreat for long, though. Adrian Gonzalez planted one off the left-field wall, bringing in Crawford as the Boston first baseman scampered to second base.

After a Cody Ross flyout, Matt Harrison issued back-to-back walks to Will Middlebrooks and Ryan Lavarnway, loading the bases and spelling the end of the lefty's afternoon. Roy Oswalt is coming in out of the Texas pen.

Mid 5th, Rangers 6-3: Beckett got out of the inning without giving up any more runs, but the damage has been done. The Rangers push across three on a pair of home runs, and Beckett now has six earned runs charged against him in this contest. It's been a strange day for the Texan.

3:07 p.m., Rangers 6-3: Mitch Moreland broke up Josh Beckett's streak of retiring six in a row in a big way. He blasted a solo shot just to the right of the yellow home-run line in left-center field, giving the Rangers a 4-3 lead.

Moreland jumped all over a 90-mph cutter for the dinger, which is his 12th home run of the season.

Josh Hamilton added to the damage, jacking a two-run shot just fair over Pesky's Pole in right. It's Hamilton's 30th of the season, and Beckett is back to being up against the ropes.

Hamilton's blast was particularly impressive given how inside Beckett's pitch was. Somehow, the talented center fielder kept his hands inside the baseball, though, allowing him to straighten it out just enough for the home run. Elvis Andrus, who scored ahead of Hamilton, reached base via a single up the middle.

2:57 p.m., 3-3: Not only is Drew Brees in attendance, but he's tweeting about it. The Saints quarterback called Fenway Park the best venue in sports.

Brees' Saints will, of course, be taking on the Patriots in preseason action on Thursday night.

End 4th, 3-3: Ryan Lavarnway had his second strong at-bat of the game, but he again has nothing to show for it. Lavarnway eventually grounded out to kick off the inning after running the count full.

Kelly Shoppach enjoyed a little bit more success, lifting a flyball to deep center field. At first, it looked like Josh Hamilton would be able to make a play on it, but he couldn't corral it while gliding toward the wall. The sun may have played a factor, as we've also seen Jacoby Ellsbury shield his eyes out there this afternoon.

Fortunately for the Rangers, Shoppach's two-bagger meant nothing, as Harrison bounced back to retire both Pedro Ciriaco and Jacoby Ellsbury — Ciriaco on a flyout, Ellsbury on a groundout.

Mid 4th, 3-3: Nice 1-2-3 inning for Beckett in the fourth.

Similar to Beckett's quick second inning, the right-hander looked in control in the fourth, retiring Michael Young, David Murphy and Geovany Soto in order.

Young flew out to Ross on the first pitch he saw, a 91-mph fastball. Murphy was a little more patient, seeing four pitches before chopping an easily fielded groundball down to Gonzalez at first base. Soto flew out to center to end the inning.

Beckett tossed just seven pitches in the inning, one more than his efficient second frame.

End 3rd, 3-3: With one swing of the bat, we're all tied up.

Cody Ross lifted his 17th home run of the season into the Monster Seats in left after initially falling behind 0-2, knotting up the score at three apiece.

Ross' home run came after Dustin Pedroia flew out and Adrian Gonzalez grounded out. With Harrison jumping ahead of Ross, it looked like nothing would be doing for the Sox in the third, but the outfielder said, "Think again."

Mid 3rd, Rangers 3-2: If you're a manager and you call for a hit and run, that's exactly how you want it to play out.

After Beckett plunked Kinsler to begin the third, Ron Washington put on the hit and run with Andrus at the plate. Andrus shot a base hit through the left side, and Kinsler — showing some aggressive baserunning — went all the way from first to third.

Up stepped Hamilton with runners at the corners (the same situation he faced when he delivered a two-run triple in the first). This time, Hamilton lifted a flyball to Ellsbury in center, but Kinsler put on the breaks and stayed at third. Ellsbury's throw to the plate sailed over the cut-off man, though, allowing Andrus to advance to second.

Adrian Beltre hit a ball right on the screws down to third base with one out, but Middlebrooks snagged it before unsuccessfully trying to double-up Andrus at second. Beckett came back and forced Nelson Cruz to ground into a fielder's choice, stranding two runners in scoring position and putting a stop to any scoring threat.

End 2nd, Rangers 3-2: The Red Sox threatened to push across the tying run, with Pedro Ciriaco getting to within 90 feet of where he started, but Matt Harrison was ultimately able to keep Boston off the board.

Kelly Shoppach struck out to begin the inning, but Ciriaco doubled down into the left-field corner. He advanced to third on a groundout to first, but the Sox couldn't push him across, as Carl Crawford grounded out softly to end the inning.

Mid 2nd, Rangers 3-2: Nice bounce-back inning for Beckett. The righty retired all three batters he faced, meaning he's now retired six in a row after allowing the first three batters of the game to reach base.

Beckett first got David Murphy to bounce out to Adrian Gonzalez at first base. He then sat down Geovany Soto on a groundball to third base that Middlebrooks fielded cleanly. The third out came when Mitch Moreland flew out to Cody Ross in right on 89-mph cutter.

Six pitches is all it took for Beckett to get through the second, which is important considering this is his first start in more than a week

End 1st, Rangers 3-2: Matt Harrison got two quick outs in the first, but the Red Sox then answered back to the Rangers' three-run start.

After Carl Crawford nearly jumpstarted the offense (David Murphy made a nice play on a line drive to left), Dustin Pedroia effectively got it going. Pedey hit a ball into the hole that Elvis Andrus couldn't make a play on, setting the stage for Boston's two runs. Prior to the at-bat, Pedroia and umpire Paul Nauert crossed paths for the first time since Nauert ejected Pedroia during the eighth inning on Tuesday night. Pedroia simply gave Nauert a quick nod, and that was about it.

Adrian Gonzalez followed up Pedroia's base hit by roping one down the right-field line. Pedroia scored, and Gonzalez ended up on second base. Cody Ross, who is back in right field, then hit a ball back up the middle that ricocheted off Kinsler. Gonzalez, showing a great deal of hustle, came all the way around to score the Red Sox' second run.

Will Middlebrooks kept the inning alive and set up runners at first and second by drawing a walk, but Ryan Lavarnway grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

Not a bad start for the Sox offense, which is a welcomed sight considering Tuesday night's woes.

Mid 1st, Rangers 3-0: Josh Beckett's first inning of work since July 31 (when he left after 2 2/3 innings due to back spasms) didn't go quite as planned.

The right-hander lost a nine-pitch battle to Ian Kinsler, walking the second baseman to begin the game. Kinsler quickly stole second base, and advanced to third on a bunt single by Elvis Andrus. It looked like Andrus was bunting for a hit rather than sacrificing this early in the game, and Will Middlebrooks' throw following a barehanded scoop pulled Adrian Gonzalez off the bag.

Josh Hamilton made Beckett pay most, crushing a ball into the right-center field triangle that scored both Kinsler and Andrus. Hamilton ended up on third base when all was said and done, and he came home on a sac fly by Adrian Beltre.

That's where we stand, with Texas jumping out to an early 3-0 lead.

1:37 p.m.: Beckett kicks, wheels, deals, the offering…

1:33 p.m.: The Red Sox are fortunate not to have to deal with Mike Napoli again today. The Rangers backstop is apparently dealing with some quad soreness that will require him to miss his second straight game.

Napoli is hitting .500 with four home runs and 10 RBIs against the Sox this season. In his career against Boston, he's a .288 hitter with 15 blasts and 33 RBIs in 38 games.

1:25 p.m.: Also, as we close in on the game's first pitch, it's also worth noting that Bobby Valentine dropped by WEEI's Dennis and Callahan on Wednesday morning. The Sox skipper addressed a number of issues, and he made it clear that he still thinks the Red Sox are a playoff team despite falling below .500.

What do you all think? Is Bobby V. right or is serving us all a big glass of Kool-Aid to drink?

Click here to see what Bobby Valentine had to say about the state of the Red Sox >>

1:20 p.m.: Now, for some notes on the big club. Vicente Padilla has been placed on the 15-day disabled list.

Padilla, who has been battling nagging groin and biceps injuries, wants to push through it, but the club decided to place him on the shelf as a precaution. Clayton Mortensen has been called up to replace Padilla on the active roster, continuing his up-and-down season.

12:20 p.m.: A couple of interesting minor league notes to pass along.

Ryan Lavarnway, who is serving as the Red Sox' DH this afternoon, was recognized by International League managers as the best defensive catcher at that level — according to Baseball America's annual Minor League Tools Survey.

The honor might be a bit of a surprise to some, as Lavarnway is known more for his offensive prowess than his defensive ability. However, it goes a long way toward showing why the Red Sox have been careful in grooming him along throughout the farm system.

Lavarnway wasn't the only Sox minor leaguer recognized in the survey. Jose Iglesias (shortstop) and Pedro Ciriaco (second base) were also considered the best defenders at their respective positions.

Meanwhile, down in the Carolina League, Jackie Bradley Jr. received a number of honors, including best hitting prospect, best strike-zone judgment, best baserunner, best defensive outfielder, best outfield arm and most exciting player.

11:20 a.m.: We're a couple hours away from game time, but the lineup cards are in. Cody Ross will return to right field after serving three straight games as the Red Sox' designated hitter.

With the shortstop position up for grabs as we advance through August, Pedro Ciriaco will get the call this afternoon.

Here's a look at what else we're working with for lineups on Wednesday.

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Elvis Andrus, SS
Josh Hamilton, CF
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Nelson Cruz, RF
Michael Young, DH
David Murphy, LF
Geovany Soto, C
Mitch Moreland, 1B

Matt Harrison, P

Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Cody Ross, RF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Ryan Lavarnway, DH
Kelly Shoppach, C
Pedro Ciriaco, SS

Josh Beckett, P

8 a.m. ET: After splitting the first two contests in a three-game set, the Boston Red Sox (55-56) will try to take the third game, and the series, from the Texas Rangers (64-45) before heading out to Cleveland for a series with the Indians beginning Thursday.

For a Rangers team that's six games up in the American League West, it's just another game and another opportunity to win a series. For the Red Sox, every game is practically life or death at this point, as the team cannot continue to tread water any longer in the AL wild card race.

After being skipped in his last turn in the rotation after having back spasms in his last start, Josh Beckett (5-9, 4.54) will make his return to the same mound that he was booed off his last time out. Before his abbreviated outing on July 31 against Detroit, Beckett had pitched middling ball, going 1-2 with a 5.21 ERA in his previous three starts — kind of a microcosm of a season where the former ace's ERA has never fallen below 4.15.

Beckett will be opposed by Matt Harrison (13-6, 3.17), who has probably been the Rangers' ace in a season where they lost their former No. 1 in C.J. Wilson and have seen their preseason presumed ace, Yu Darvish, not quite live up to expectations.

First pitch is schedule for 1:35 p.m. ET, but you can tune into NESN for all the pregame action beginning at 12:30, and our live blog will have the lineups and other relevant information in the hours before first pitch.

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