The Red Sox had their opportunities Saturday evening against the Rangers. The pulse of this contest seemed as if it was one that would work in the Red Sox’ favor.
They had just one loss when collecting 10 or more hits in a contest. The Sox collected 12 in this one. The Red Sox hadn’t lost a game this year when the club scored four or more runs. They had six on Saturday.
It’s rare that this team, one of the better offenses in baseball, loses by getting outhit.
Yet Saturday marked one of those rare occasions.
The Rangers offense outperformed the Sox’, tallying 13 hits on the night. More importantly, the Rangers scored when they needed to. The Red Sox did not, which led to a 8-6 loss in Arlington, Texas.
If there’s an inning that determined the Sox’ fate, it was the fifth.
The Red Sox were up, 5-3, in that inning behind back-to-back RBI singles by Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez. Yet the team missed out on an opportunity to score more against reliever Taylor Hearn, who took over for Jordan Lyles at the start of the fifth. Rafael Devers would entertain a walk that loaded the bases with no outs, offering the Sox a chance to deliver what likely could have been the knockout blow.
Yet Hearn got Christian Vázquez to ground into a force at the plate. Bobby Dalbec and Hunter Renfroe then struck out to end the inning. The Red Sox were 4 for 13 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
“I mean, you got a chance to put a team away right there,” manager Alex Cora said afterward. “Bases loaded and no outs and we don’t score. We had a chance to put them away and we didn’t We had traffic all over the place today.”
In the top of the second inning, Hunter Renfroe launched a two-run homer off Lyles. It gave the Sox a 2-0 lead in what ended up being another night defined by the team’s offense.
Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez made it through his five innings, yet this one was a grind, coming with a rocky third inning where Rodriguez tossed 33 pitches and yielded three runs. The Rangers peppered Rodriguez with singles that inning, registering four of them in that frame. Nick Solak’s one-out RBI single plated the Rangers’ first run. Then following Rodriguez’s two-out walk to Adolis García that loaded the bases, Nate Lowe’s sharp liner to left scored two more for the Rangers, earning them a 3-2 lead.
In the fourth, the Red Sox tied the contest at three apiece. Devers laced a double down the left field line and Vázquez’s single to right put runners at the corner. Dalbec’s slow tapper to shortstop enabled Vázquez to score.
Rodriguez got through the fifth inning, but allowed a homer to Isiah Kiner-Falefa, which shrunk the Sox lead to 5-4. Rodriguez surrendered eight hits during his five innings of work.
“I think his stuff wasn’t as sharp as before,” Cora said. “But you know, he gave us five. But I think today, it was a grind from the get-go.”
Cora pulled Rodriguez after five innings at just 67 pitches, a decision Rodriguez said he could live with.
“I feel like most of my pitches were on the plate today,” Rodriguez said. “I will say it was a good decision behind you know, take me out of the game after those four rounds. I mean, I can’t complain on that, you know.
Matt Andriese took over in the sixth, and a two-run shot by Willie Calhoun put the Rangers ahead, 6-5. The Rangers would add one more behind Kiner-Falefa’s RBI triple. The Sox will now try to go for the series split Sunday.
“We have to do a better job,” Cora said regarding his offense. “And it seems like we’re getting there. So, in those situations, the other team is not going to give in. We have to get on top of the fastball and go the other way.”