BOSTON -- The Rangers arrived in Boston as the hottest team in the Major Leagues. They left after being swept by the Red Sox, culminating with a 6-2 defeat that included 20 strikeouts in Thursday's soggy finale of a three-game series.
Five Red Sox pitchers combined for the 20 K's, tying a Major League record for a 9-inning game. Of the six times it has happened, the Red Sox have accounted for half of them. Roger Clemens set an MLB record with 20 K's in 1986, and he tied his own record in '96, accounting for the other two times. The Rangers also tied a franchise record by striking out 20 times.
Drew Pomeranz turned in one of the most powerful performances of his career to earn the win, holding heavy-hitting Texas to four hits and two runs while walking one and equaling a personal best with 11 strikeouts. Closer Craig Kimbrel tied an MLB record with four punchouts in a wild ninth. Heath Hembree had two strikeouts, while Robby Scott added one and Matt Barnes had two.
"A lot of powerful stuff from each guy that came in," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Robby Scott chips in with one in a matchup situation. That's a good hitting team, and they can be explosive. But, again, Drew tonight with 11 in six innings. Kimbrel, he's been on such a run. Matt Barnes looks like he's really getting back on track."
The four strikeouts from Kimbrel were made possible by a controversial call by home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild, who awarded Nomar Mazara first base after he struck out swinging on a pitch that hit him on the back foot. Fairchild didn't see that Mazara was hit by the offering, and called it a wild pitch. Farrell was told the play was not reviewable.
"It was just a swinging strike three, ball that got away, and obviously he reached first base," said crew chief Alfonso Marquez. "The only thing I can tell you, the only thing I will say is, this was a replay issue."
MLB later released a statement acknowledging that the replay official and replay supervisor should have allowed for a review.
The Red Sox won their fourth straight game, equaling their best winning streak of the season. Texas had won 11 out of 12 coming into this series.
"That's the beauty of baseball, I guess," Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "You can't take any team for granted. Even when you are playing your best, this can happen. We need to get back to having better at-bats."
Xander Bogaerts led the attack offensively for the Red Sox with two hits, including his first home run of the season. Mitch Moreland also had a two-hit night against his former team and drove in a run. Deven Marrero added an insurance blast, a two-run shot to left, in the bottom of the eighth.
Andrus drilled a solo homer for the Rangers. Right-hander Nick Martinez took the loss, giving up seven hits and four runs over five innings.
The pile-up of punchouts wound up being the story of the night at Fenway.
"To be honest with you, I didn't have any idea. We just knew we had a lot," said Barnes. "When you're going through the course of a game like that, you really don't know. You don't sit there and kind of add them up. Truthfully, I didn't know until about five minutes ago. It's pretty cool."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Bogaerts blasts away for first homer: Bogaerts finally ended his power outage when he turned on a 1-2 fastball from Martinez and laced it just over the Monster for a two-run shot in the third inning. It ended a stretch of 173 at-bats without a homer for Bogaerts, dating back to Sept. 29, 2016, against Yankees lefty CC Sabathia.
"I've been hitting balls pretty hard. Not enough flight, height. So, it was good to get one over the wall, get it out of the way," said Bogaerts. More >
Misjudge and home run: The Red Sox had two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the eighth when Christian Vazquez hit a fly ball to left. Rangers left fielder Ryan Rua thought it would hit off the wall, and he set up to play the carom. The ball, going into the wind, did hit the wall just off the ground, and would have been within Rua's reach had he not given up. It went for a double, and Marrero followed with a two-run home run to give the Red Sox a 6-2 lead. It was Marrero's second career homer, and first since 2015.
"John and I both agreed. The rain had been fairly heavy. There was standing water on the warning track and on the outfield. We were thinking of the players' safety and the integrity of the game. Nobody wants to put those guys in harm's way. We wanted to make sure they had playable conditions." -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister, on why the game was delayed 28 minutes while the grounds crew worked on the field
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Kimbrel joined Tim Wakefield (Aug. 10, 1999) as the only pitchers in Red Sox history to have four strikeouts in an inning.
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers:A.J. Griffin will be on the mound when the Rangers open a three-game series with the Blue Jays at 6:07 p.m. CT on Friday at Rogers Centre. The Rangers are 10-19 in Toronto during the regular season over the past seven seasons.
Red Sox: Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who has been Mr. Consistency for the Red Sox this season, gets the nod in Friday night's opener of a three-game series against the Mariners at Fenway Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET. Rodriguez has turned in six straight quality starts.