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Bullpen game falls short, Red Sox bats go quiet in series finale loss to Rangers

Ryan Brasier gave up a pair of home runs in the sixth inning, which drew a mound visit from pitching coach Dave Bush.LM Otero/Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Red Sox lost to the Rangers, 7-1, Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Field. After taking two of the first three games, they were unable to complete the sweep and finished this road trip with a 3-2 record.

Observations from the game:

▪ The Red Sox had to go with a bullpen game and seemingly cruised with their crew of relievers through five innings of work. Not so much in the sixth.

With the game tied, 1-1, and Ryan Brasier on the mound, Marcus Semien snapped an 0-for-27 slump with a double down the left field line. It was a heads-up play on Semien’s part because Alex Verdugo, who missed Saturday’s game with a right foot contusion, was slow getting to the ball. Semien, meanwhile, had his mind on getting to second upon contact, and beat Verdugo’s one-hop throw easily.


This was the turning point for a Rangers offense that had been held in check throughout the weekend, scoring just four runs in their two previous games on a combined 11 hits. Brasier then walked Corey Seager and struck out Jonah Heim. But with two outs in the frame, Adolis Garcia stung a three-run shot on a 96 mile-per-hour offering to right-center, putting the Sox in a 4-1 hole.

Kole Calhoun made it back-to-back homers with a solo shot to left-center, his second homer of the day. Brasier has a 6.57 ERA in 12⅓ innings pitched and has allowed four homers. Both of the homers Brasier surrendered Sunday came on fastballs.

“It’s what I pitch with,” Brasier said. “It’s what I live and die by. Hopefully I can continue to do that but with different results.”

Manager Alex Cora said the fastball is getting hit hard, in part, because he’s not elevating it, to which Brasier responded, “A couple adjustments that need to be made, for sure.”


Garcia homered again in the eighth. The Rangers had just six hits but four of them were homers.

The Red Sox couldn't do much against Martín Pérez, managing only one run in seven innings.LM Otero/Associated Press

▪ The Sox wanted to work up Martín Pérez’s pitch count. The two sides were familiar with each other since Pérez was a member of the Sox for the previous two seasons. They did that in the first inning, with Pérez tossing 24 pitches in that frame.

But in the second, Pérez posted just a 10-pitch inning. He sliced the Sox up for six innings, allowing just five hits while striking out seven. The Sox’ lone run off Pérez came in the fifth inning when Rafael Devers’s RBI single through the shortstop hole beat the shift, scoring Kiké Hernández from second. Pérez continues what has been a stellar year so far, posting a 2.01 ERA in seven starts.

“He will pitch to the edges until he can’t,” Cora said of Pérez. “We tried to do too much at certain points, and then he got on a roll and the changeup started playing. He’s a veteran, he had good stuff but I think from the get-go, we had traffic and we weren’t able to cash in.”

▪ Devers, for the most part, was the Sox’ offense Sunday. The Sox came into the series finale sporting 30 runs over their previous four games, including a combined 18 in winning the first two against the Rangers. They racked up 42 hits within that span.

Devers was responsible for three of the Sox’ seven hits Sunday.


Rafael Devers had three hits, including the fifth-inning single that drove in the only Red Sox run.LM Otero/Associated Press

▪ The Sox now have the Astros for a three-game series beginning Monday at Fenway Park. Garrett Whitlock will be the Sox starter, looking for a bounce-back performance after he lasted just three innings on 82 pitches last week against the Braves. The Astros remain one of the better teams in baseball, posting a 23-12 record. It will be an American League Championship Series rematch from last season.

“If we need motivation, they’re right there, right in front of us,” Cora said of the Astros. “They did what they did to us in October and we just got to be ready. They are playing good baseball.”

The Sox are just 4-9 at home, but they feel a shift coming heading back to Fenway for seven games.

“Yeah, it’s always nice to be home,” said Bobby Dalbec, who was 1 for 4 with a double Sunday. “I heard it’s a little bit warmer now than it was before we left so that’ll be nice. Everything is going to be good.”

Julian McWilliams can be reached at Follow him @byJulianMack.