Another Boston tee-off party strains Rangers' AL West cushion

Posted Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011  comments  Print Reprints
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ARLINGTON -- Manager Ron Washington spoke Wednesday afternoon about how quickly things can change during a baseball season.

His team was seven games up in the American League West and riding a six-game winning streak only a week earlier. As is common when a team is rolling, the Rangers didn't have any weaknesses.

Things have changed, indeed. Nothing went right for them Wednesday night, though at least a storm blew through early and dropped temperatures significantly to minimize the Rangers' misery.

Boston jumped Matt Harrison for four runs in the first inning, with the defense contributing to the Red Sox success, and the Rangers managed only six hits as they suffered a 13-2 loss.

"When you play a team like this, you've got to match their pitching," Washington said. "You have to stay with these guys. You can't let them start putting runs on the board and you have to catch up."

With that defeat, the Rangers had another game clipped off their lead in the West as second-place Los Angeles crushed the Chicago White Sox 8-0 behind staff act Jered Weaver.

The Angels victory, their sixth in a row, leaves them 2½ games behind the Rangers, who fell into a 6-0 hole for the second straight game. Boston got four in a windy first inning as its left-handed hitters did the heavy lifting against the left-handed Harrison.

They went 4 for 4, though the first hit was on the infield as Jacoby Ellsbury beat the throw from second baseman Omar Quintanilla and the second, a flare by Adrian Gonzalez, was knocked down by a strong wind gust.

The big blow was Carl Crawford's two-run double, a play that ended with catcher Mike Napoli failing to hold onto a relay throw at home to easily tag out David Ortiz for the final out.

Lefties entered hitting .289 against Harrison and exited with a .309 average. It's an issue he has tried to remedy the past few weeks and needs to fix going forward.

"That's been my downfall all year," he said. "I've just got to keep working and try to figure something out to keep them off the bases."

Harrison (10-9) endured five innings, allowing seven runs on 11 hits. Both were season-highs. He said his four-seam fastball never felt right leaving his hand, and he hung too many curveballs early.

Despite being at a career-high 153 innings, Harrison said fatigue is not a contributing factor to a subpar August that has seen him go 1-2 with a 6.59 ERA.

"I felt good today energy-wise," he said. "That's the worst fastball I've had all year. I put us in a big hole in that first inning. It was just a terrible night and a terrible performance."

Josh Beckett (11-5) kept the Rangers' offense down over his six innings. The native Texan didn't allow a hit until the fifth, when Napoli hit a solo homer.

Napoli, who has nine homers in 29 career games against Boston, drove in the other Rangers run with an RBI single in the eighth that kept them from suffering their widest margin of defeat this year.

Ellsbury, Crawford and Gonzalez hit two-run homers against Rangers relievers to give the Red Sox a 24-7 advantage the past two games. Crawford, also a native Texan, finished with five RBIs.

"Not demoralizing at all," third baseman Michael Young said. "We got beat up tonight, but we'll come out tomorrow and play hard. Obviously, we didn't play our style of baseball tonight or yesterday, so we've got to make adjustments tomorrow and play better."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

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