For the second consecutive night the Rangers knocked out a Red Sox starter early. Saturday’s starter Steven Wright lasted longer than David Price on Friday but this time the Rangers held on and evened the series with a 10-3 win. Wright was charged with eight runs (only three earned because of two errors) on seven hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings. It’s his second shortest outing this season and the most runs he’s allowed in a game.
The Rangers showed no signs of any mental residue from blowing a four-run lead in the ninth on Friday.
“It’s a great mix of veteran leadership and youthful energy. They love to be at the ballpark,” Banister said. “They love the challenge of the next day. They showed up today with great confidence especially against a guy who hasn’t given up a whole lot. He’s tough.”
Here’s three thoughts from the Rangers’ 10-3 win over the Red Sox Saturday night:
1. A.J. Griffin returns — Griffin pitched well despite leaving after a 4 1/3 innings. He had been on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness since May 8 and last started a game May 7. He allowed four hits, including a solo homer to Hanley Ramirez in the second. The other three hits were singles. He struck out six and walked one.
“I wish I could have thrown a few more strikes and stayed ahead in the count a little bit more but I was out there battling,” said Griffin, who threw 91 pitches, including 53 strikes. “Hanley put a good stroke on that one but other than that I felt pretty good about the outing. Physically, I felt pretty good today. I’ll get back at it tomorrow and keep my body going in the right direction.”
Griffin’s successful return, along with Nick Martinez, who started Friday night, will be integral to filling the void left by Colby Lewis and Derek Holland.
“He just kind of picked up where he left off,” Banister said. “He kept them off balance with the slow curve ball. It’s important to have those guys step in because they’re going to have to continue to pitch. We expect them to go in there and do their job.”
2. Hail Cesar! — Speaking of do their job. Cesar Ramos came in an threw 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Not only did it help win the game, but it helped keep the bullpen relatively rested. Shawn Tolleson pitched a perfect ninth is looking more like the reliable reliever he was for most of 2015. Ramos took over for Luke Jackson in the sixth after Jackson had walked the first two hitters and surrendered a run-scoring double. Ramos came in and struck out Travis Shaw and Bryce Brentz to hold the Rangers’ lead at 8-3.
“The biggest key was Cesar,” Banister said. “He pounded the strike zone to get us to the end where we could turn it over to Tolley.”
Tolleson retired the side in the ninth on 12 pitches.
3. Ian Freakin’ Desmond — The man just continues to hit like his life depends on it. Wait, I guess it sort of does. At least his livelihood. In any case, he collected his 32nd multi-hit game, tied for second most in the majors.
“We just continue to grind on teams. We have an approach at the plate where we want to work deep counts and we want to try and be selective at the plate, and over time it takes a toll on the pitching staff,” said Desmond, who tied Rougned Odor for the team lead with his 13th homer in the fourth inning. “We put eight [runs] up on a guy who has a chance to win the Cy Young. That only helps us and builds our confidence.”