The Texas Rangers completed their sweep of the Boston Red Sox to open the 2011 season, sending the Boston to a 5-1 loss with homer after homer.
Clay Buchholz provided the Red Sox with their best start yet, but that's not necessarily saying much. After not scoring in the first inning, the Rangers quickly remembered what series it was, and started hitting homers again. David Murphy got it started this time around in the second, digging out a fairly impressive fastball dipping low and inside, drifted back into the stands in right field. Ian Kinsler, who finally failed to lead off the game with a bomb, turned out to just be waiting for the third inning, when he added his own on a hanging two-strike changeup. And if that wasn't ridiculous enough, Mike Napoli made it 10 on the series for the Rangers in the fifth.
Still, the lead was only 3-0 at this point, as Buchholz had yet to give up a hit other than the three home runs, and had only allowed two walks--both to Ian Kinsler, who he was clearly trying to pitch around. With just a three-run deficit to overcome, the Sox went to work in the seventh on Matt Harrison, who had been looking like a Cy Young candidate to this point. With Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz reaching on a walk and single to start the inning, Carl Crawford delivered a one-out single up the middle, finally putting the Red Sox on the board. The Sox would even have a chance to tie the game, with Jacoby Ellsbury at bat with the bases loaded, but Matt Harrison got him swinging to end the threat.
Just as soon as the Sox closed the lead to two, though, it was right back out to three thanks to--you guessed it--yet another home run. Nelson Cruz did the honors this time with an upper-decker, sending Clay Buchholz to the locker room with four home runs in just five hits.
With the Rangers having made just about every Red Sox pitcher look bad over the course of the series, they moved to make it as complete a set as possible in the eighth, when Terry Francona decided to get Jonathan Papelbon some work. If Sox fans were hoping for a bounce back year, the inning was indicative of anything but, as Papelbon allowed a run and loaded the bases before recording an out.
With things in danger of getting ridiculously out of hand, he did fight back to strike out Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, and David Murphy in order, but that was about the only bright spot to be found. Facing a 5-1 deficit in the ninth, no rally was forthcoming from the bottom of the Sox' order, allowing Texas to close things out cleanly.