Given big cushion, Martinez can't corral Red Sox

Righty gives up six runs as he falls behind, doesn't attack hitters

Given big cushion, Martinez can't corral Red Sox

BOSTON -- Right-hander Nick Martinez got an idea of what it's like to face a surging Red Sox offense during the Rangers' 12-5 loss Monday -- and it wasn't pretty.

Once Texas scored four early runs in the first inning against Rick Porcello, Martinez entered the game with a wide enough lead that it would seemingly work to his advantage.

Instead, he struggled early, falling behind in the count while being too concerned with his pitch location in the strike zone.

"Mechanically I feel fine, just trying to nitpick that corner," Martinez said. "Try and be too fine with it and then falling behind. Just have to go and attack the next time out."

Martinez allowed four baserunners in the first as the Red Sox responded with a run of their own. Though he tossed a cleaner second inning, Martinez fell behind again in the third.

The 25-year-old gave up a single, three doubles and a home run in the third -- his roughest inning of the afternoon. He exited in the fifth, giving up 11 hits and six earned runs through 4 1/3 innings for a 5-4 deficit.

Rangers manager Jeff Banister believes Martinez's outing had less to do with his ability to attack the plate and more to do with the righty's confidence.

"He pitched on the edges a little bit early," Banister said. "The nine of 26 [first-pitch strikes] and working from behind, that is an indication that he's trying to pitch on the edges. I know Nick can throw strikes -- he's not trying to walk guys -- I know that for a fact."

Martinez contributed to a season-high 21 hits by an opponent as the Rangers tied a franchise high with 13 extra-base hits allowed. The last time Texas gave up as many extra-base hits was in June 2013, also at Boston.

The silver lining was Martinez's ability to deal a season-high 108 pitches before leaving. His depth followed by reliever Michael Roth's 3 2/3 innings allowed the bullpen to rest. Banister said Roth's outing (six runs on 10 hits) doesn't do justice to the southpaw's important performance.

"Obviously the line is not going to look good for [Roth]," Banister said. "But I"ll let him know just how important that was, to allow the bullpen that has been taxed to to have some time to at least have a day to kind of exhale, not be used. Not exactly sure that's how he wanted it to go, but the reality is sometimes somebody's gotta step up and do that for us."

Deesha Thosar is a reporter for based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.