Ogando, Rangers continue mastery of Boston
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers don’t need to get big offensive nights as long as their pitchers keep throwing the way they have been.
It was Alexi Ogando’s turn to carry the baton Saturday night.
Ogando pitched six innings of one-run ball as the Rangers handled the Boston Red Sox 5-1 once again Saturday night.
Boston came into the series with the best record in baseball and was second in the American League in runs scored. They’ve managed to score just one run in two games against the Rangers, who just happened to have the best ERA in the AL and have won eight of their last 10 games against Boston.
“They (the pitchers) certainly went out there the last two nights and kept us in the ballgame until the offense was able to get started,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “We put some runs on the board and held on. Ogando did a great job. (Tanner) Scheppers came in and did a great job. (Robbie) Ross came in and did a great job. That’s what it takes to beat a team like that. You have to be able to execute pitches.”
Ogando (3-2) retired the side in order just once in his six innings, that coming in the first. But he allowed just a second-inning run and exited after allowing a leadoff single in the seventh inning. It took both Ross and Scheppers to work out of a jam in the seventh, with Scheppers striking out Jarrod Saltalamacchia to end the threat in what was then a 3-1 ballgame.
Ogando struck out six, walked two and allowed six hits. But he was able to come up with the big pitch when he needed it as the Red Sox finished the game just 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
“I couldn’t throw a lot of pitches the way I wanted to but you’ve got to grind it out,” Ogando said. “I had to battle all the way. I couldn’t locate all my pitches. Even though you have runners on bases, you have to battle it out, grind it out. That’s what I did today.”
That’s what the Rangers did offensively too.
The matchup against John Lackey looked good on paper as Lackey has been awful in his career against Texas. It started that way too as Ian Kinsler hit the first pitch in the bottom of the first into the stands in left to put Texas up 1-0.
But while the Rangers had Lackey in trouble, it wasn’t until Craig Gentry’s infield single in the fourth that they were able to break a 1-1 tie. Gentry’s bases-loaded single to third brought in two runs as Will Middlebrooks made an errant throw to first.
Gentry wasn’t even supposed to play Saturday but got a start because David Murphy missed the game with a stomach virus. Gentry’s night got even better in the eighth inning as he gave Texas some much-needed insurance with a two-run homer to left.
It was just the third career homer for Gentry and his first in 100 games.
Gentry was just happy to contribute in the win.
“Any way we can push some runs across is big,” said Gentry, who also had an RBI infield single Friday. “This is a great ballclub we’re playing against. They’re in first place. To come in and take the first two away from them is a huge momentum swing.”
While the Rangers went just 1 of 6 with runners in scoring position, they kept giving themselves opportunities by rapping out 10 hits and drawing three walks. The huge inning never came but with Ogando pitching well, all it took was a couple of key swings from Gentry.
That’s what good pitching will do for you.
“He did a great job tonight,” Gentry said. “He pitched deep into the game and kept them off the bases. Luckily we were able to push a couple of runs across and let him settle in.”