Rangers score all-time high at Fenway Park -- 18 runs
04/17/2012 11:42 PM
03/24/2013 1:08 AM
BOSTON -- The first two Boston hitters Tuesday night singled and homered, and the No. 6 hitter missed another two-run shot by about two feet.
Colby Lewis, from the look of things, appeared to be in for another long night against a team that scored 14 runs against him last season in 15 1/3 innings.
But then the Texas Rangers' offense granted their Opening Day starter a quick reprieve. He took advantage of a fresh start, and the Rangers never stopped hitting.
Mike Napoli hit two of the Rangers' six home runs, with three coming in an eight-run eighth inning, and Lewis allowed only the two first-inning runs in seven strong innings as the Rangers crushed Boston 18-3.
The runs and the margin of victory are both all-time highs at Fenway Park for the Rangers, who have won five consecutive games and eight of their past nine.
Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz homered in a four-batter span in the eighth, and Michael Young homered in the sixth before exiting in the eighth with minor back stiffness.
Hamilton's homer was measured at 469 feet, 33 feet shy of the famed Ted Williams blast in 1946, but the 400-plus foot shot Napoli hit to tie the game in the second inning got the Rangers going.
"We got in that second inning, and Napoli got us on the board," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "It was one of those nights we swung the bat well. We played good defense, we ran the bases, we pitched. We did what we were supposed to do."
But Boston was up 2-0 after Mike Aviles led off with a single to left and Dustin Pedroia followed with a two-run homer over the Green Monster. The Red Sox just missed a second two-run homer with two outs as Ryan Sweeney's drive hit high off the wall in center field.
Lewis, who allowed four hits in the inning, got Cody Ross to ground back to the mound to end the threat.
"It's damage control at that point," Lewis said. "It's early in the game. You don't want the first inning to dictate the way the rest of the game goes."
The Rangers quickly countered as Cruz doubled with one out in the second and Napoli followed with a shot that cleared the Green Monster and left the ballpark. The Rangers would pile on two more, though in unspectacular fashion, as Jon Lester needed 49 pitches to get out of the inning.
The left-hander lasted only three batters into the third before he was yanked. All three would score to hand Lewis a 7-2 lead.
Lewis (2-0) found a nice groove and allowed only four hits and a walk over the next six innings. He logged 107 pitches and struck out seven before leaving with an 8-2 lead.
He needed 27 pitches in the first inning, and said he felt the lift the Rangers' bats gave him.
"It was huge, especially when they [his teammates] tied it up," Lewis said. "It starts the game over. You wipe the slate clean."
The bats awakened again in the eighth, an inning that started with an Ian Kinsler walk and an Elvis Andrus single. Hamilton followed with his fifth homer deep into the right-field seats, part of his 3-for-5 night with a career-high-tying five RBIs, and Beltre followed with a shot to straightaway center field.
"I'm just finding holes, man, seriously," Hamilton said. "I don't feel great. It's getting better, but my timing is still a little early. Right now, I'm getting away with some things."
After David Murphy walked, Cruz joined the homer party, also to center field. Napoli wrapped up the scoring parade with a two-run shot in the ninth, curling a Vicente Padilla pitch around Pesky's Pole in right field.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760
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