Sunday, June 26, 2016

Rangers come alive to thump Red Sox

 Elvis Andrus' three-run triple led the charge as the Rangers pounded American League ERA leader Steven Wright for eight runs in 4 2/3 innings as they defeated the Red Sox, 10-3, Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd at Globe Life Park.
Ian Desmond's solo home run -- his 13th long ball of the year -- and Mitch Moreland's two-run single did the damage in the fourth, and Andrus' big hit highlighted a five-run fifth.
"I think, as an offense and really as a team, we just continue to grind on teams," Desmond said. "We put eight up on a guy who has a chance to win the Cy Young. That only helps us and builds our confidence."
The eight runs allowed by Wright were the most the knuckleballer has given up this season, but all five in the fifth were unearned because of fielding errors by shortstop Xander Bogaerts and first baseman Hanley Ramirez. Wright, who had allowed just three runs over his last four outings, still leads the league with a 2.18 ERA.
"I had a tough time throwing the knuckleball for a strike," said Wright. "I felt like I couldn't throw a good one over the plate. I had to rely a lot on my fastball. When I do that, it's usually not going to be a good day for me."
Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin made his first start since being placed on the disabled list on May 8 with right shoulder stiffness. He allowed two runs and struck out six over 4 1/3 innings. Ramirez launched a solo homer to right-center off Griffin in the second, his eighth homer of the season. Left-hander Cesar Ramos came on in the sixth and threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win. 
"It was pretty good. I wish I could have thrown a few more strikes and stayed ahead in the count a little bit more, but I was out there battling," Griffin said. "Hanley put a good stroke on that one, but other than that, I felt pretty good about the outing." 
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Elvis unloads the bases: With the Rangers leading, 4-2, in the fifth, Andrus came up with the bases loaded and two outs. He cleared the bases by driving Wright's 3-2 fastball over the head of Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. for a triple. Andrus scored on a wild pitch to cap the five-run rally. He has driven in five runs through the first two games of this series.
Mixed bag for Hanley: Ramirez homered for the fourth time in the last 11 games, signifying that he has finally found the power stroke that has eluded him for much of the season. But Ramirez's error in the fifth on a routine grounder by Odor hurt badly. It would have been the third out of the inning, and it created the opportunity for Andrus to bust the game open.
"The baserunner is going to try to disrupt the line of sight. It looked like he might have," said Red Sox manager John Farrell of Prince Fielder screening Ramirez on Odor's grounder. "The ball stayed down on [Ramirez] and squirts under his glove. That's a play that he's made routinely. But, yeah, the defense in the fifth opened up the gates."
Jackson escapes jam: Right-hander Luke Jackson, making his first appearance since being recalled Wednesday, took over for Griffin in the fifth and inherited a bases-loaded, one-out situation. Mookie Betts was the first batter he faced, and he floated a single into right-center to drive in Bradley, who had singled. Jackson then got Dustin Pedroia to ground into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning and preserve a 3-2 lead.
"Bases loaded, up against it, I'm proud of how calm he was," Banister said of Jackson. " He came out of the bullpen and looked me straight in the eye, he was calm." 
Brentz flashes leather: With three Red Sox left fielders on the DL, Bryce Brentz is getting a chance. He made consecutive nifty plays with the glove in the bottom of the third. Brentz ranged into the gap in left-center to make a nice grab to rob Moreland, holding onto the ball as he tumbled to the ground. Robinson Chirinos followed with a shot into the corner, and Brentz hauled it in.
QUOTABLE
"His bat speed has been good. His point of contact is over the middle of the plate, front edge of the plate. Over the past five to seven games, you're seeing it come along, certainly seeing it come to life." -- Farrell, on Ramirez's improvement at the plate
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Arlington has been a house of horrors for the Red Sox in recent years. Boston is 10-21 at Globe Life Park since the start of 2009.
The Rangers have not lost back-to-back games since being swept by the A's May 16-18 in Oakland.
WHAT'S NEXT
Red Sox: Right-hander Clay Buchholz makes his second start since rejoining the rotation as the Red Sox face the Rangers in the rubber match of this three-game series. The Texas native is 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA in four career starts at Globe Life Park.
Rangers: Martin Perez will take the mound for the Rangers in Sunday's 2:05 p.m. CT finale against the Red Sox. Over his last 10 starts, the left-hander is 6-2 with a 3.24 ERA.

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