Rare wild outing for Nathan costly for Texas
JUL 24, 2012 11:01p ET
ARLINGTON, Texas — Joe Nathan was bound to be wild by his lofty standards some time for Texas.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, that time came Tuesday night in the top of the ninth inning of a tie game against Boston.
Nathan walked a pair of batters with two outs before Mike Aviles lifted a single just over a leaping Elvis Andrus to score the game-winning run in a 2-1 Red Sox victory.
Nathan hadn't walked more than one batter in a game since April 16, 2011, a streak of 80-consecutive appearances. It looked that like number would go to 81 after he retired the first two Red Sox batters on six pitches.
But he fell behind Daniel Nava and walked him to bring up Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Nathan tried to be careful with the Red Sox catcher and ended up walking him too, which set the stage for Avila.
"Everything was sharp until Nava and (I) can't walk him," Nathan said. "The at-bat with Salty, he's swinging the bat good. We made sure we were careful. Still like the matchup with Aviles even though we put the guy in scoring position, but the walk to Nava was the one that hurt."
The Rangers dealt with plenty of pain Tuesday night both at the plate and physically. Texas left runners in scoring position in five of six innings, from the third through the eighth.
In the eighth, Texas had a runner on third with two outs for Adrian Beltre. Former Texas pitcher Vicente Padilla plunked Beltre in the head on an 0-2 pitch, 92-mph fastball, sending the Rangers third baseman to the ground. Beltre left the game but did not have a concussion.
"It sounded bad when it hit me, but I should be OK," said Beltre, who had a double in the fourth inning for one of Texas’ five hits. "I don't think he was trying to hit me. I don't think in that situation, 1-1, eighth inning, runner at third, he's trying to hit me in that situation. It got away from him."
After Beltre was replaced by pinch-runner Yorvit Torrealba at first base, Michael Young grounded out to end the threat. That was the last opportunity Texas had as Alfredo Aceves only yielded a two-out walk before retiring Craig Gentry for the final out as the Red Sox beat the Rangers for the first time this season.
Boston took a 1-0 lead in the fourth off Martin Perez. Cody Ross led off with a walk and scored three batters later on Kelly Shoppach’s two-out double to right on ball that was misplayed by David Murphy.
That didn't put a damper on a solid outing for Perez. He allowed just one run on five hits, while striking out one and walking two in six innings.
"I thought tonight he did an excellent job," Texas manager Ron Washington said of Perez. "He went out there and got us into the sixth inning. He battled and he showed that he doesn't give in and he competes. We were in the ballgame when he left. I'm very happy with what he gave us tonight."
Perez ended up with a no-decision because the Rangers managed to tie it off Boston's Clay Buchholz in the bottom of the sixth. Andrus doubled with one out, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Josh Hamilton ground out.
That would be it for the offense though as the Rangers couldn't take advantage of four walks by Boston pitchers.
"It was a nail-biter game," said Young, who went 0-for-4 and is now hitting .268. "Any one mistake can hurt you. Both teams were making big pitches to get out of jams."