A little bit of tightening defensively and a lot of timely hitting got the Texas Rangers back on track. Now they seek a second straight win over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday while trying to split their six-game road swing.
Texas (4-4) opened the series with a sloppy 5-1 loss Monday night, with Prince Fielder’s error contributing to a three-run eighth inning that put the game out of reach. The Rangers also went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven runners while Fielder went 0 for 4.
Tuesday night was a different story, though, as the Rangers turned five double plays in the first six innings to help Martin Perez in their 10-7 win. Texas went 6 for 14 with runners in scoring position while banging out six doubles and one homer among their 13 hits.
The double play is ”a pitcher’s best friend,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. ”They got on base, but he was able to eliminate them.”
Fielder went 2 for 5 with a double and two RBIs to snap an 0-for-12 funk, but the slugger is still seeking his first homer since joining the Rangers. He’s had some success against Red Sox starter Jake Peavy, going 10 for 36 with four doubles while also striking out 10 times.
Fielder is batting .348 lifetime (23 for 66) at Fenway Park with eight doubles and five homers. He will not have Adrian Beltre protecting him in this game after the designated hitter left Tuesday’s win in the sixth inning with pain in his left thigh – an injury that bothered him in spring training – and is scheduled to return to Texas ahead of the team’s 10-game homestand that starts Friday.
"We just have to wait and see what Dr. Meister says," Washington told the team’s official website. "We’d rather get him there sooner than later."
Peavy is hoping for a better fate after a solid season debut. The right-hander allowed a second-inning solo homer and one other run as part of a six-inning outing Friday against Milwaukee and left without a decision in Boston’s 6-2 loss.
"I’m excited to pitch and build off some of the positives of the first start," Peavy told MLB.com. "Obviously you go out to give our team a chance to win. I think we all know I expect more out of myself and want to pitch deeper in the ball game. I want to give up less than two runs. That’s just the way it is."
Peavy, though, has struggled against Texas, going 0-2 with a 7.59 ERA in four starts. He last faced the Rangers in 2012 while pitching for the Chicago White Sox.
Shin-Soo Choo has given Peavy fits, going 9 for 21 with two homers, and Mitch Moreland is 3 for 6 with two homers.
The Red Sox (3-5) will try to regroup against Robbie Ross, who had a solid first major league start last Wednesday after spending the first two years of his career as a reliever. The Rangers bailed out the left-hander with a three-run ninth-inning rally to defeat Philadelphia after he yielded three runs and seven hits while striking out seven in five innings.
Mike Napoli and Grady Sizemore – Boston’s 4-5 hitters – have combined to go 11 for 18 in this series but have totaled two runs.