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Red Sox 11, Rangers 3

Red Sox offense stays red hot with another rout in Texas

Rafael Devers celebrates his two-run home run with third base coach Carlos Febles during the Red Sox' four-run second inning.LM Otero/Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas — Entering this weekend, the Red Sox hadn’t notched a series win since taking two of three from the Tigers from April 11-13. Yes, it had been that long.

But behind stellar pitching from Rich Hill, and dominant hitting that has been so scarce this season, the Sox beat the Rangers again, 11-3, Saturday night at Globe Life Field. It was the first time the Sox tallied consecutive wins since April 16-17 against the Twins. They will have a chance at the sweep Sunday.

Observations from the game:

▪ The Red Sox took a 5-1 lead in the second inning with their second four-run frame in as many days. Franchy Cordero began the inning with a walk, which has become an interesting development in Cordero’s latest stint in the majors. Cordero has negotiated five walks in his last four games.

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Bobby Dalbec followed Cordero and stung a ground ball single to left field, setting up a sacrifice bunt by Jackie Bradley Jr. to advance the runners. Kiké Hernández’s sacrifice fly scored Cordero. Next, Rafael Devers laced a low-and-away heater off the left field foul pole for a two-run shot.

“Offensively, we’re getting there,” manager Alex Cora said. “Good at-bats. The bottom of the lineup did an amazing job. We kept the line moving. It was another good one for the offense.”

This isn’t merely a recap of events. Instead, it’s a highlight of the type of offense the Sox have been trying to get. If there’s an inning that represents that, it’s the second.

▪ Consider the Sox went into Saturday’s matchup with 14 walks in the last three games. They tallied just 17 in their first seven games of May. The Red Sox also posted a 29.6 percent chase rate in their previous three games, compared with their 35.5 percent chase rate overall that led the majors.

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The key to the Sox’ recent success at the plate is in their patience and decision making: swing at pitches in the zone and don’t chase out of the zone. The Sox ranked 28th in the majors in home runs, which, to some degree, was directly tied to the team’s forgettable at-bats. But with better at-bats over a period of time, Cora believed the homers, and slugging in general, would come. That turned out to be true Saturday.

“Everybody knows we hit,” said Christian Vázquez, who was 2 for 5 with a double. “We have a great lineup. Slow start. Crazy start. I think we’re playing like a team now.”

▪ J.D. Martinez extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a solo shot in the top of the first that gave the Red Sox a quick 1-0 lead. The Martinez homer came on a Glenn Otto hanging slider that had little break and stayed over the inside part of the plate. Despite Martinez hitting .276 on the slider this season, he’s prone to it low and away, hitting just .143 on that pitch. Rangers catcher Sam Huff called for the low-and-away slider but instead it ended up right in Martinez’s hot zone and was a precursor to what would end up being a Red Sox offensive explosion.

▪ Hill’s start did more than just register a win for the Red Sox. It saved a bullpen that will have to cover all nine innings Sunday in what will be a bullpen game. Hill, who was activated off the COVID-related injured list before the game, worked six innings plus three batters, allowing three runs (two earned) and striking out four. Hill now has a 2.89 ERA six starts this year (28 innings). He surrendered two runs in the seventh, which ended his day, but before that he went 20⅔ innings without allowing an earned run.

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How?

“It’s about that one pitch at a time approach,” Hill said. “Making competitive pitches and continuously attacking the strike zone and pitching with a relentless intensity. You work to remove yourself from the results. That’s the biggest thing and if we’re pitching for the moment and understanding each pitch has its own entity, it’s one moment then we can look back at the end of the day and be satisfied with the way the ball came out of your hand.”

It’s been a satisfying road trip for this Sox team so far.


J.D. Martinez watches his solo home run against the Texas Rangers during the first inning.LM Otero/Associated Press

Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @byJulianMack.