By Ian Browne and Deesha Thosar
MLB.com |@IanMBrowne |
BOSTON -- The Red Sox that routinely overpowered teams with their offense at home earlier in the season have resurfaced the last couple of days, continuing with a 12-5 thumping of the Rangers in Monday's Fourth of July matinee at Fenway Park.
Down, 4-0, before even taking a swing, the Boston bats quickly shook off that deficit with one in the first and four more in the third against losing pitcher Nick Martinez to take the lead for good.
In the past two games, the Sox have scored 22 runs. They recorded season highs in hits (21), doubles (9) and extra-base hits (13) Monday.
The emerging Sandy Leon led Boston's hit charge with a 4-for-5 performance that included three doubles as he lifted his average to .500 in 40 at-bats. Travis Shaw smashed three hits, including a homer that clanged high off of Pesky's Pole in right. Dustin Pedroia also homered as part of a three-hit day. Xander Bogaerts had three hits and scored twice. Hanley Ramirez doubled twice and reached base in his first four plate appearances. David Ortiz also stroked two doubles on a day the Red Sox had nine. Mookie Betts had two hits, including a homer.
"A big day up and down the lineup," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "What the bottom third of the order has been able to do over the last three or four games has been impressive, particularly the way Sandy continues to swing it. Driving the ball for extra bases, a lot of contact."
Rick Porcello shook off the onslaught by the Rangers in the first and was unscored on for the rest of the day. The sinkerballer (10-2, 3.82 ERA and 7-0 at Fenway) allowed 12 hits and four runs (three earned) over his six innings, and kept the momentum on Boston's side after his offense got the lead.
"We've been swinging the bat much better as the calendar has turned," Farrell said. "There was no move to make from a pitching standpoint. Rick had to give us 100 pitches somehow, someway. I'll be honest with you. He's a tremendous competitor. This ballpark played tiny today, so anything was possible."
The Rangers, who hold the American League's best record at 52-32, lost their third in a row despite a 16-hit attack. Rougned Odor went 3-for-4 with his 16th homer -- a solo shot -- and three RBIs. Ian Desmond had three hits and scored a run and Adrian Beltre went 3-for-5 with an RBI single.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Holt drops hammer with bat, arm: In the bottom of the third, Brock Holt smashed a two-run homer that landed on top of the bullpen wall in right-center before nestling in. In the top of the fourth, the Rangers tried to run on Holt and paid the price. Desmond cracked a two-out single to left and Shin-Soo Choo tried to score from second. Holt made a perfect throw to nail Choo at the plate and end the inning.
"That's all of our ideas, to be a contributor on the field whenever we're playing," said Holt, who missed more than a month due to a concussion. "That's all I'm trying to do, and it's worked out so far." More >
Two outs, four runs: In the first inning with two outs, Adrian Beltre hit a line drive to center to score Desmond from second and put the Rangers on the board early. With Beltre on base, Prince Fielder crushed a 90-mph fastball a foot or two shy of going over the right-field wall. Instead, he settled for a single and hustled to second on Pedroia's cut-off throw to home plate. Porcello didn't get out of the jam before allowing four runs, all on two outs.
"They're a tough hitting team and it was kind of a tough day to pitch," said Porcello. "They [the Red Sox hitters] came out there and swung the bats and allowed us to be comfortable out on the mound and not worry about a one- or two-run game and end up throwing strikes and get through the game."
Papi is double trouble: Ortiz smoked doubles in his first two at-bats on Monday, and matched his uniform number with 34 for the season. Earl Webb holds the Major League and Red Sox record with 67 doubles in 1931. Ortiz passed Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski with career extra-base hits No. 1,158 and 1,159.
Troublesome outing: For Martinez, putting an end to Boston's offensive thrashing seemed like a daunting task. He gave up a run and let three runners on in the first. His second frame was much better, besides a double to Leon. But a single, three doubles and a home run defined a rocky third for Martinez. He left after 4 1/3 innings, giving up 11 hits and six earned runs with three walks on 108 pitches.
"[I] pitched with a lot of confidence," Martinez said. "[I] was going out there attacking. Just feeling it out there. Even with a four-run lead, still don't want to give up runs. Got away from the game plan a little bit the first and then got back to the game plan. Just fell behind guys as the game went on." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The 114 hits by Bogaerts are the most a Boston player has had through the first 82 games of a season since Adrian Gonzalez had 119 in 2011.
Betts skied one down the line to left in the second inning and he hoped he had a two-run homer. But it was ruled foul, and after a crew-chief review of one minute and 22 seconds, the call stood. The fact that it was hit over the foul pole made it tough to overturn it.
In the fifth, when Beltre bobbled a grounder by Bogaerts, Pedroia thought he could beat the throw to second. It looked like he might have, but he was ruled out by second-base umpire Mark Ripperger. Farrell challenged the call, but it stood.
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers: Right-hander A.J. Griffin (3-0, 2.93 ERA) makes his ninth start of the season on Tuesday at 6:10 p.m. CT against Boston. It will be Griffin's third start since returning from the DL. He received a no-decision on Thursday at New York in the Rangers' 2-1 walk-off loss to the Yankees, allowing two hits and one run through five.
Red Sox: Lefty ace David Price, who was highly critical of himself following a loss to the Rays last time out, will try to get back on track in Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. ET game against the Rangers. Price had reeled off eight straight quality starts before losing to the Rangers and Rays.