…thirteen hits and one run in 18 innings against the Texas Rangers coming into Sunday afternoon’s series finale, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, the slumping Sox offense had to deal with the ace of the Rangers’ staff, Yu Darvish.
How do you think that turned out for the Red Sox?
Actually, just as bad as it was built up to be – and while a loss is a loss no matter how it happens, how it happened on Sunday did nothing to ease anxieties among the faithful.
Darvish allowed three runs on four hits – both runs coming via Sox park jobs – while striking out a whopping 14 batters in 7 innings, and Adrian Beltre sliced an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to give the hometown Rangers a 4-3 walk-off victory over the Red Sox to sweep the three game weekend series.
Boston came into the series with the best record in baseball and came out of it stomped like grapes – tied with the Rangers, whose pitching staff took the Red Sox batters behind the woodshed so many times that in Sunday’s matinee it seemed the Sox batters wanted no more to do with Texas or their pitching staff, waving weakly at Darvish’s magical offerings.
David Ortiz continued his hot start, however, belting his 4th home run in 13 games and extending his hitting streak to 25 games. David Ross also went deep with his 4th, but that one was nothing compared to Big Papi’s drive to right field – a shot so high and deep that Ortiz took his time admiring the trajectory.
The two jobs spotted Sox starter Jon Lester a 3-0 lead and, as we’ve seen of Lester thus far, that should have been enough…
…but it wasn’t, as Lester was victimized by the long ball as well.
Mitch Moreland sent one over the wall in left, an opposite field job that seemed to crawl into the stands to make the score 3-1 in the third, a score that held up until the sixth, when Nelson Cruz sent his seventh ball of the season into the people – a two run shot to center that tied the game and ended Lester’s day with no influence on the decision.
“I felt good. I felt like I had good stuff, I just made two mistakes,” said Lester after the game.
Boston made a little noise in the tops of the 8th and 9th, putting together hits and walks and stolen bases for the first time in the series against the Rangers’ pen, but saw those threats fizzle – and Texas seemed to be headed in the same direction and the game destined for bonus cantos as Sox reliever Clayton Mortenson struck out pinch hitter Leonys Martin and second baseman Ian Kinsler to start the bottom of the ninth…
…then yielding a single to Elvis Andrus and electing to walk Lance Berkman with two outs to get to Beltre, who lined his single to right center, scoring Andrus and handing the Sox their 3rd consecutive loss.
The Red Sox return home for a set with the Minnesota Twins, who will send Vance Worley to the mound to face Clay “Preacher Roe” Buchholz for a 7:10pm start at Fenway Park on Monday night.
Perhaps a return to familiar surroundings will help the Sox remember where they left their offense.
The smart money says it’s still in Toronto.