Saturday, May 04, 2013 11:53 pm
Rangers clinch series over Red Sox with 5-1 win
By STEPHEN HAWKINSAP Sports Writer
The Rangers broke a 1-1 tie and went ahead to stay on the speedy Gentry's infield hit in the fourth. He added his first homer in the eighth.
Alexi Ogando (3-2) pitched into the seventh inning for his first victory in five starts and the AL West-leading Rangers (19-11) clinched the series against the Red Sox (20-10), who still have the best record in the majors even after losing the first two games.
Ian Kinsler hit the first pitch thrown by John Lackey (1-2) into the left-field seats for his sixth homer this season, and 28th career leadoff shot.
The Rangers had the bases loaded with two outs in the fourth when center fielder Gentry hit a hard chopper. Third baseman Will Middlebrooks fielded the ball cleanly and made a strong throw that was a bit wide of first base, though Gentry clearly beat it. A second run scored on the throwing error when the ball got away from first baseman Mike Napoli.
Ogando struck out four and allowed one run in six-plus innings. The right-hander, who won his first two starts of the season before going 0-2 the last four, was gone after allowing a leadoff single to Middlebrooks in the seventh.
Rangers closer Joe Nathan, the third Texas reliever, worked a perfect ninth in his first appearance in eight days.
Lackey made his second start since coming off the disabled list because of a right biceps strain and winning in his return last Sunday. He hasn't won consecutive starts since 2011, and has had plenty of struggles against the Rangers - he has a 6.01 ERA in his 37 career starts against Texas, the most by any active pitcher.
The big right-hander, a Texas native, allowed three runs and six hits over five innings. He struck out four and walked three.
On Kinsler's leadoff homer, left fielder Daniel Nava was a long way in front of the 14-foot wall when he stopped, held his hands out and seemed totally confused while looking up for the ball. It landed several rows deep in the stands, an estimated 402 feet from home plate.
David Ortiz had a leadoff double in the second for the Red Sox, extending his majors-best hitting streak to 24 games, dating back to last season. He scored on a single by Nava to tie the game at 1.
Ortiz has hit in all 12 games he has played in this season since being activated from the disabled list, with an extra-base hit in 10 of his last 11 games.
Texas loaded the bases in the fourth on two walks and a single by A.J. Pierzynski. Then came Gentry's infield hit before No. 9 hitter Leonys Martin drew a walk to re-load the bases. Kinsler hooked a long drive down the left-field line foul before his inning-ending comebacker to Lackey.
Notes: The Red Sox had won their first four road series this season. ... Yu Darvish (5-1) starts the series finale for Texas, against left-hander Jon Lester (4-0). ... Kinsler's homer extended his hitting streak to 10 games, second-longest in the AL - to Ortiz. ... Red Sox RHP Craig Breslow threw a nine-pitch perfect inning for Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday and could be activated during a seven-game homestand that starts Monday. Breslow has been on the disabled list with left shoulder tendinitis since March 31.