The Boston Red Sox snapped a four-game losing streak on Monday night with a 4-2 win over the Texas Rangers.

While the bats came up clutch in the eighth inning, Boston’s starting pitching headlined the night.

Kutter Crawford hit a rough patch as the calendar flipped to September. In his last start against the Yankees, the young righty made progress with 4 2/3 innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts at Fenway Park.

The 27-year-old picked up where he left off in the series opener against Texas. Crawford faced early adversity after allowing a solo home run to Marcus Semien on his first pitch of the game.

Story continues below advertisement

From there, Crawford settled in and had a good feel for his pitches, conducting quality stuff and command.

The Rangers scratched across a pair of runs against the righty, but another young member of the Red Sox future turned in an encouraging performance.

Crawford finished six innings and allowed just two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts for Boston on Monday night.

“He was really good,” Alex Cora said of Crawford’s outing, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Obviously, didn’t start it the way we wanted. He was able to elevate his fastball and expand with the slider. The cutter was good. He gave us six strong innings and then the bullpen did the rest.”

Story continues below advertisement

The right-hander found a physical change on Sunday that translated into a great start on Monday.

“It felt really good,” Crawford said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “After grinding through the last few, I made an adjustment yesterday and it kind of showed today. I was able to command the baseball and attack the zone. Just a little activation thing to get my body right and being able to stay anchored in the ground and work efficiently. It allowed my lower half to move a lot better. It showed with how I was able to command the baseball.”

The Red Sox have found consistency in the rotation over the last week with a string of quality starts that continues to show growth for the staff.

“It’s important for him and it’s more important for us,” Cora added. “I felt like that was enough for where we were in the game. That was pretty solid. That’s what we need. We need these kids to keep pushing to go deeper into the games. The 4 2/3 over and over again at this level is hard to win ballgames on a consistent basis. They understand that. They’re working hard to get over the hump.

Story continues below advertisement

“The mix of pitches is very important,” Cora continued. “You look at the good ones. They probably start with 55% four-seamers and the second time through the lineup it’s 45% four-seamers. The third time through, they overload their breaking balls. It’s a different mix, especially late in the games. That’s something we’ve been talking about. The stamina too, it’s a lot of effort and he’s not a big guy. He puts a lot of effort into each pitch. He’s going to attack the offseason the right way.”

In regards to allowing the leadoff homer from Semien, Crawford remembered his start in Houston in August of 2022 when he trailed 1-0 after four pitches from a José Altuve double and a Yuli Gurriel single. The experience helped him stay focused on Monday.

“It’s happened before and it probably won’t be the last time,” Crawford recalled. “It’s one of those things where it happens, but you’ve still got the whole ballgame ahead of you. My focus was to go right back at guys, attack the zone and try to give my team the best chance to win.”

The Red Sox have swayed whichever way starting pitching has taken them in 2023. Months like July where Boston went 15-8 were marked by great outings from the rotation. Then, the team struggled in August when the starters could not get through the fifth inning. Depth from the rotation is a remaining priority to close out 2023 and carry into 2024.

Story continues below advertisement

“We’re going to be very specific in the things we need from him and the starters for us to be able to sustain this throughout the whole season,” Cora said. “Obviously, not knowing what’s going to happen. I think we’ve identified things that are going to make them better. Stuff-wise, they’ve been really good, all of them. It’s just what we have to do to go to the next level.”

“I’m trying to go six every time,” Crawford said. “The quality starts are a huge thing. It allows your bullpen to be rested and more fresh. Every time I go out there, I’m trying to go at least six innings. Sometimes, it doesn’t work performance-based with how you command the baseball. My intention every time I toe the mound as a starter is to go at least six.”

Here are more notes from Monday’s Red Sox-Rangers game:

— Red Sox starters have gone at least six innings in each of the last five days. The only exception came in the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Yankees when Nick Robertson served as an opener.

Story continues below advertisement

— Crawford delivered the ninth straight outing in which a Boston starting pitcher allowed three runs or less, according to Red Sox senior manager of media relations and baseball information J.P. Long.

— The Red Sox returned to .500 at 15-15 against the American League West this season. Boston is now 3-1 against the Rangers in 2023 after taking two out of three at Fenway Park in July.

— Rob Refsnyder became the first Boston hitter to tally a go-ahead hit while trailing since July 30, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe.

— Chris Martin continued a career-best streak of 19 straight scoreless outings across 18 shutout innings, according to Long.

Story continues below advertisement

— Boston is 68-26 when the offense scores four or more runs, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage.

The Red Sox continue their three-game series against the Rangers on Tuesday night from Globe Life Field. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET, and you can watch the game, plus an hour of pregame coverage, on NESN.

Featured image via Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports Images