The Red Sox fell to the Texas Rangers 6-3 Tuesday night, ending their winning streak at just two games as Ryan Dempster outlasted Jon Lester.
It will be a difficult loss for Lester to take, because in many ways he was the better starter of the two. Getting through the first four innings facing just 12 batters thanks to a double play erasing a second-inning single, Lester looked nigh-untouchable headed into the second half of the game.
Dempster, meanwhile, had gotten tagged in the first four innings, allowing wall ball after wall ball without actually having any runs come around thanks to their staggered placement and one pickoff play in the first.
Then came the sixth, however, and everything started going south. The Rangers did not waste a leadoff double from David Murphy as the Red Sox had back in the second, but instead pushed their first run across with a wall ball from Ian Kinsler. A ground ball got Lester his second out, but Josh Hamilton singled into right to make it 2-0 before the third could be recorded.
The seventh wasn't much better for Lester, with a couple of walks and a single leaving him watching Mark Melancon allow an inherited runner to score, putting the Sox down 4-0 despite having produced just as many baserunners as the Rangers.
The Sox had their one really bright moment in the bottom of the inning, when some sketchy defense from the right side of the infield put two men on base for Nick Punto. Bobby Valentine finally turned to Will Middlebrooks, bringing the superior third baseman off the bench for a pinch-hitting appearance. A first-pitch hanging slider was all Middlebrooks needed to see, and after a video review to check on a fan reaching over, the umpires correctly awarded Middlebrooks with a home run into the Monster seats that made it 4-3.
The Rangers were quick to build their lead back up, however. The added one more run in the eighth off of Melancon, and then a sixth in the ninth when a leadoff runner hit by Craig Breslow both gave them the baserunner they needed to score again, and resulted in the ejection of Dustin Pedroia, who claimed the batter had swung at the pitch. Pedroia had gotten into it with first base umpire Paul Nauert the inning before when the man in black made an atrocious call on a check swing, ringing up Pedroia on what should have been ball one.
With the Red Sox unable to mount a rally in the ninth, the Rangers evened the series headed into tomorrow afternoon's game.
|Final - 8.7.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||0||0||3||8||0|
|WP: Ryan Dempster (1 - 0)
SV: Joe Nathan (22)
LP: Jon Lester (5 - 10)