Beltre leads Rangers in rout of Red Sox
Boston right-hander John Lackey has never particularly enjoyed pitching back home. The right-hander had another tough night in the Lone Star State.
Lackey gave up nine runs without getting out of the fourth inning Saturday night and the Red Sox are 0-2 for the first time since 2005 after a 12-5 loss to the defending AL champion Texas Rangers.
''I haven't had a whole lot of success in this park, that's for sure,'' Lackey said. ''They've always had a good lineup since I've been in the league. I had my first start of my career here and they had a few Hall of Famers in that lineup. ''
The lackluster performance by Lackey overshadowed what has been a resurgence of sorts for slugger David Ortiz, who has homered in the first two games for the first time in his career and set a major league record for RBIs by a designated hitter.
''That's good because it will help him relax,'' manager Terry Francona said. ''I know how much he was pointing toward April. Let him get his legs under him and hopefully he'll whack a few more.''
Ortiz only had one homer in April last season, and in 2009 didn't hit his second homer until his 50th game of the season.
Lackey (0-1) gave up 10 hits in only 3 2-3 innings. The Texas native has a 6.78 ERA in 17 career starts at Rangers Ballpark, though he has 6-6 record there. The nine runs were the most he ever allowed in Texas.
''It's a tough place to pitch. Definitely, I'm surprised when we give up that amount of runs. But there's a long way to go,'' Lackey said. ''I expect to be good every time I pitch. So it's a shock, for sure. But it's one game.''
Adrian Beltre, who signed a long-term deal with Texas last winter after only one season in Boston, hit a grand slam in a six-run outburst in the fourth against Lackey to make it 9-3. Beltre's ninth career slam came after the Red Sox chose to intentionally walk AL MVP Josh Hamilton to load the bases with two outs.
''Anytime you're doing that, something isn't going well. But I'd have had a hard time answering it the other way around,'' Francona said. ''If he hits a ball and you asked me why I didn't walk him, I wouldn't have had a good answer. He has had so much success against Lack.''
Ian Kinsler, Yorvit Torrealba and Nelson Cruz also homered for the Rangers. Only the homers by Beltre and Kinsler came off Lackey.
The Rangers raised their AL championship flag before the opener Friday and got their rings in a pregame ceremony Saturday. They have now won their first two games for only the second time in 11 seasons.
Boston missed the playoffs last season for only the second time in an eight-year span that included two World Series titles. The last time the Red Sox lost their first two games was 2005, against the New York Yankees.
Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Rangers right-hander Mason Tobin, who made his major league debut replacing Lewis.
Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, the two All-Stars that Boston added over the winter, have had drastically different starts.
Gonzalez had three singles Saturday and is 5-for-9 so far. Crawford is hitless in seven at-bats with four strikeouts and a walk.
Ortiz, who has 351 career homers, also set the major league record for RBIs by a designated hitter.
His two-run homer in the second inning Saturday night put Boston ahead 2-1 and gave him 1,003 career RBIs as a DH, matching the record held by Edgar Martinez. Ortiz broke the mark with a RBI groundout in the fourth that tied the game 3-3.
In his 1,598 career games with Minnesota and Boston since 1997, Ortiz had 1,174 career RBIs. He has played 248 games as a first baseman.
Colby Lewis (1-0), the Rangers' postseason ace last fall when they went to their first World Series, had four strikeouts while allowing three runs over six innings.
After Lackey quickly retired the first two batters of the fourth, Torrealba had a double and Julio Borbon followed with a triple into the right-field corner. Kinsler walked, Elvis Andrus had an run-scoring double before Hamilton, already with two singles and an RBI, was given a free pass.
Beltre hit a 1-0 pitch over the left-field wall. After being an All-Star for the first time in his only season with Boston last year, Beltre turned down a $10 million option to stay and instead signed an $80 million, five year deal with the Rangers that has the potential for another $16 million in 2016.
NOTES: Lackey's 34 starts against the Rangers and his most against any team. ... Hamilton made a nifty play on his stolen base in the third inning, sliding headfirst to the outside of the bag and reaching back to grab it with his hand to avoid a swiping tag attempt by 2B Dustin Pedroia. Hamilton's foot was still on the bag when Pedroia fell on top of him.