The Texas Rangers were rolling right along Friday night through eight comfortable innings before the Boston Red Sox woke up.
Mookie Betts’ two-run homer off a 98 mph fastball from Matt Bush tied it and Dustin Pedroia scored from third on a wild pitch by Bush.
The inning started with Jake Diekman walking the lead-off hitter Jackie Bradley Jr. Pinch-hitter Sandy Leon doubled to cap an 11-pitch at-bat to score Bradley before Betts homered.
It’s the first homer Bush has allowed and it was the first wild pitch he’s thrown. Catcher Bobby Wilson covered it quickly off the backstop but couldn’t get a handle on the ball to make a throw to Bush at home.
“Obviously, tough loss, especially jumping out with six runs early,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “The inning set up well for Diekman, a left-right situation. The 11-pitch at-bat by Leon was an incredible at-bat. [Then an] elevated fastball, [Betts] hit it out of the ballpark.”
Bush was charged with his first loss and first blown save.
“I started him off with some sliders away, and the fastball out of my hand felt like I hit the outside corner,” Bush said. “Looking back on it, I didn’t. The ball got a little too much plate. He did a good job and put a good swing on it, and belted a home run right there.”
The 11-pitch at-bat by [Sandy] Leon was an incredible at-bat. [Then an] elevated fastball, [Mookie Betts] hit it out of the ballpark.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister, on the Red Sox’s ninth
In the bottom of the inning, Koji Uehara retired Prince Fielder, Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor to complete the stunning comeback.
It’s only the third time the Rangers have lost when taking a lead into the ninth inning. It’s their first blown save since May 17 when Shawn Tolleson was still the closer.
Current closer Sam Dyson was never up in the bullpen Friday night. Banister said after the game that he wanted Dyson to get another day off after already compiling 37 1/3 innings, including 11 2/3 in June.
“He’s a workhorse but nobody can stand that type of pace. We have to have others out there other than Dyson,” he said. “To get where we want to be we have to have a group of guys out in the bullpen and be able to come in whatever inning it is and shut the door down.”
The Rangers collected 16 hits, two shy of their season-high, but most of those came in the first few innings as they built a 6-0 lead.
He’s a workhorse but nobody can stand that type of pace. We have to have others out there other than Dyson.
The third sellout crowd of the season watched the Rangers knock Red Sox ace David Price from the game in the third after pegging him for six runs on 12 hits in 2 1/3 innings.
Shin-Soo Choo led off the first with a homer and it went downhill from there for Price, who fell to 8-5 with the loss.
Along with Choo, the first four Rangers reached with hits. Andrus, who had singles in his first three at-bats, made it 3-0 with his two-out, two-run single in the first. The Rangers scored another run in the second and two more in the third to send Price to the showers the earliest in a game this season.
The last time Price left a game earlier was August 27, 2014, against the Yankees. It’s the fourth time he’s allowed six or more earned runs.
Meanwhile, Rangers right-hander Nick Martinez, making his second start of the season, looked more like the experienced veteran.
0 Rangers hits in the final four innings
Martinez surrendered a two-run homer to Hanley Ramirez in the fourth and a two-run homer to Bradley in the sixth but led 7-4 after six innings. He was charged with four runs on six hits and three walks, including an intentional walk to David Ortiz.
Tony Barnette held the Red Sox hitless in the seventh and eighth inning.
The Red Sox bullpen didn’t allow a hit in the final four innings. Tommy Layne, Heath Hembree and Uehara combined to retire the final 12 batters they faced.
Rangers vs. Red Sox
8:20 p.m. Saturday, FSSW
Rangers vs. Red Sox
Radio: KRLD/105.3 FM; ESPN/1540 AM (Spanish)
Rangers RHP A.J. Griffin (3-0, 2.94 ERA) vs. Red Sox RHP Steven Wright (8-4, 2.01)