The second game of a weekend series against the Boston Red Sox marked the Texas Rangers' 35th game of the season and No. 15 for Delino DeShields.
The center fielder made it two whole games before hitting the disabled list with the first of multiple first-month injuries that exposed the Rangers' depth and threatened to derail DeShields after a stellar spring.
Turns out the 20-game absence didn't slow him at all.
DeShields extended his hitting streak to nine games with what looked to be the game's biggest hit, a three-run homer in the fifth. It looked like it would be another example of the good that comes to the Rangers when DeShields scores a run.
Instead, his homer and the two mammoth solo shots from Joey Gallo were wasted in a messy seventh inning that helped sink the Rangers in a 6-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
DeShields said that he doesn't keep tracks of his stats or what his numbers are, but if he has been helping the team. The media does, though, and DeShields is hitting .306 this season and .385 during his career-best hitting streak.
"I'm a very team-oriented guy, so what I've been able to do on the field, to me, is helping the team," DeShields said. "That's how I've always looked at my game. I don't even really know or process what's going on. I just go out there and play, and I want to win and I want to make everyone around me better."
Cole Hamels allowed three runs in six innings and was in position for only his second win of the season before Jose Leclerc walked Mookie Betts with one out in the seventh in a 5-3 games.
Alex Claudio entered and allowed a flare to left fied to Andrew Benintendi, and shortstop Jurickson Profar retreated into shallow left, at the line, to retrieve the ball but then didn't seem to know where to throw.
Betts saw the indecision and raced toward home, diving in safely once Profar finally did unload a throw. Claudio retired Hanley Ramirez on a ball back to the mound and was left into face another right-handed hitter J.D. Martinez.
Martinez was batting .357 against left-handers, the same as Ramirez, and righties were hitting .477 against Claudio after he retired Ramirez. With no righty warming for the Rangers, Claudio faced Martinez and allowed the game-tying single.
Against the Red Sox’s mighty lineup, matchups might not matter.
"A couple mistakes that got us,” manager Jeff Banister said. “The one down the line, we wind up giving up a run. Profar looked away, and the runner was able to score.
“You don’t want to run through the whole bullpen in that situation. We felt good with Claudio against that set of hitters.”
DeShields gave the Rangers a chance in the eighth, starting it with a single and racing to third on a double by Shin-Soo Choo. He was the potential game-winning run, but he never budged as Isiah-Kiner Falefa grounded out against a drawn-in infield, Gallo struck out after an intentional walk to Nomar Mazara and Profar went down looking to end an 11-pitch at-bat against Joe Kelly.
Instead of taking a lead, the Rangers quickly saw Boston go ahead. Benintendi tripled with one out in the ninth off Keone Kela and scored as Ramirez drove him in with a sacrifice fly to DeShields that was too deep for him to even try a throw home.
In the past two weeks alone he has made multiple key defensive plays that have saved runs and helped the Rangers win games. He entered Friday tied for the American League lead in outfield assists with four in only 14 games.
No one can say DeShields isn't doing his part.
"Not only that, he's assumed a leadership role in that dugout and clubhouse," Banister said. "We couldn't ask for more."