The Texas Rangers have won just four games at home all season, and they will find no reprieve in their friendly confines on Thursday when they begin a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
Boston will send left-hander David Price (2-3, 3.78 ERA) to the mound on Thursday to oppose Rangers left-hander Mike Minor (2-1, 4.33).
The Red Sox head to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex on the heels of a 5-4 home win versus Kansas City on Wednesday afternoon in which right fielder Mookie Betts clubbed three solo home runs and left-hander Drew Pomeranz won for the first time in his three starts since returning from the disabled list.
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Pomeranz (1-1) allowed three runs in six innings, and Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth to record his eighth save just hours after he blew his first save of the season in the Royals’ 7-6 win on Tuesday night.
The Red Sox begin a 10-game road trip after winning two of three games in the series against Kansas City, which is tied for the second fewest wins (eight) in baseball.
Betts’ three-homer game was the fourth of his career, allowing him to supplant Ted Williams for the most games with three home runs in team history.
“It’s pretty cool,” Betts told MLB.com about breaking Williams’ record. “He hit .400 one year. He did a whole bunch of other things I haven’t done. Just to know my name is amongst his is pretty cool.”
Betts had tied Williams’ mark just 15 days ago when he hit three homers against the Los Angeles Angels and now has 11 homers on the season. Betts and the Angels’ Albert Pujols are the only active players with a quartet of career three-homer games.
“I know what I can do and I know I have the ability to drive the ball, and I’m kind of showing it,” Betts said. “It’s more surprising, kind of, to everybody else. Some of it is surprising to myself, like the last one today, but I know I can drive it. It’s just a matter of using the whole field and driving it everywhere.”
Since 2016, Betts has 11 multi-homer games, tying him with Baltimore’s Manny Machado for second most in the majors over that period. Only Giancarlo Stanton (13) of the New York Yankees has more.
Texas, meanwhile, heads back home after a break-even (3-3) road trip to Toronto, where they won twice, and Cleveland, where they ended the trip with a 12-4 loss to the Indians on Wednesday afternoon. Cleveland scored nine runs in the first two innings and never looked back as Edwin Encarnacion belted three homers in the win.
Texas starting pitcher Matt Moore was a bit of a sacrificial lamb in Wednesday’s lopsided loss, lasting four innings to provide a bit of a respite for the Rangers’ beleaguered (and mostly ineffective) relief corps.
Texas, which is in the midst of a 13-games-in-13-days stretch, had used seven relievers over 8 1/3 innings in the first two games of the Cleveland series, giving up nine runs. That almost forced the hand of manager Jeff Banister, who left Moore on the mound to eat up some innings even as the Rangers never mounted a serious threat to come back in the game.
“You’ve got to give it to Moore for hanging in there and throwing as many pitches as he did in a short period of time, knowing that we were a little short in the bullpen today,” Banister said. “He continued to grind it out and gave us everything he had.”
Price allowed five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings during his most recent start on April 28 versus Tampa Bay. He is 4-5 with a 5.11 ERA in 14 career starts against Texas.
Minor has enjoyed extended rest prior to each of his past five starts, but on Thursday will be working on five days’ rest for just the second time. He has gone 0-2 with a 3.63 ERA over six games (two of them starts) in his career against the Red Sox. Minor has not started vs. Boston since May 29, 2014.