Everything that has been an issue for the Texas Rangers of late took a starring role Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
The Rangers’ starting pitching and defense, two tenets of the club’s historic first-half success, were again the culprits for an 11-6 blowout loss against the Boston Red Sox.
Boston took advantage of three errors in a five-run second-inning and built an 11-1 lead before starter Martin Perez could even sniff the fifth inning. It’s the shortest outing of the year for Perez but lately that’s been par for the course for the Rangers’ beleaguered rotation. Rangers starters have lasted fewer than six innings in five consecutive games and 13 of the past 18 games.
“It’s been a tough stretch but I don’t think we’re tired,” said Elvis Andrus, who made one of three errors in the second as the Red Sox scored five times to build a 7-1 lead.
Rougned Odor’s fielding error came on a slow hopper in which he was trying to field the ball and tag out a runner passing in front of him. It’s his 10th of the season and third in the 10-game trip.
The next batter, Travis Shaw, sent a slow hopper toward Beltre, who fumbled it for just his third error of the season and first since May 29.
It was Andrus’ first error since May 28 and only his seventh this season.
“After the inning I think we played pretty good baseball. Nothing to feel ashamed of,” he said. “It just happened. It was a crazy game in the beginning. You just have to turn the page as soon as you can and refocus for the next series and try to finish the first half strong.”
Manager Jeff Banister laughed off the three errors by his infielders as an anomaly.
“Obviously, it’s not how we wanted to finish the road trip,” he said. “That second inning is something we haven’t seen since last year. The reality is, we’re probably not going to see it again. It was an inning that seemed to get away from us defensively.”
The Rangers have lost consecutive series for the first time this season. The last time that happened was August 2015 at Seattle and Minnesota. No other team in the majors had done it in that stretch.
Even ace Cole Hamels was struck for a season-low four-inning outing in Minnesota.
“It’s been a challenge in the last 10,” Banister said. “There are still a lot of positives based on some of the things we’ve had to overcome. Losing some starting pitching. We’ve had our two top pitchers get nicked here lately. It’s a grueling stretch.
“It’s not just the 20 games that we’ve played on the road, it’s all the way from the East Coast to the West Coast, all the time zones. But we’ll never use that as an excuse.”
It’s the first time Texas has lost a Perez start since May 18, the last time he was charged with a loss. That was the third game in a three-game sweep in Oakland and before the Rangers turned on the afterburners and raced out to a 10-game lead in the American League West.
That has been squeezed to 6 1/2 games as the Houston Astros have won eight of 10 while the Rangers concluded a 4-6 road trip.
Rangers by month
W: wins; L: losses; R: runs; RA: runs allowed; Avg.: batting average; HR: home runs; ERA: earned-run average; Sv: saves
Rangers vs. Twins
7:05 p.m., FSSW