ARLINGTON (AP) – Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington knows it is still too early to worry about watching the standings.
But if the defending AL champions keep playing like this, they might not be in the position they want to be in mid-September.
Matt Harrison gave up four runs in the first inning and the AL West-leading Rangers suffered another lopsided loss in a potential playoff preview against the Boston Red Sox, 13-2 on Wednesday night.
“All you can do is bounce back,” Washington said. “We got beat, it wasn’t nothing we could do about it. … You come back tomorrow and you try to put your game together.”
The Rangers (74-57) have lost five of seven games, the latest matching their worst of the season. Their last three losses have been by a combined score of 34-7 — including a 10-0 loss at the Chicago White Sox on Sunday before an 11-5 setback to the Red Sox on Tuesday night.
“It’s not demoralizing at all,” Michael Young said. “Obviously we didn’t play our style of baseball tonight or (Tuesday), so we’ve got to make some quick adjustments, come out tomorrow and play better.”
There is one more game against the Red Sox before the AL West-chasing Los Angeles Angels get to town this weekend for three games.
“Our priority is always on what we do,” Young said. “If we take care of our business, we like our chances of ending up winning the division.”
Texas had a seven-game division lead after winning three consecutive games in Los Angeles last week, then led in the ninth inning of that series finale before the Angels got a game-ending homer.
Los Angeles has now won six in a row, including 8-0 over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, to cut the division gap to 2 1/2 games. Los Angeles is off Thursday.
Mike Napoli hit his 22nd homer and had an RBI single for the only Texas runs against Boston.
David Ortiz returned to the Boston lineup with an RBI single on the first pitch he saw in 10 days and scored twice.
Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez hit two-run homers in consecutive innings late off three different relievers for Boston (79-50), which moved a game up on New York after the Yankees lost 6-4 in 10 innings to Oakland.
With 33 games left to play, the Red Sox aren’t yet too concerned with the standings.
“I think there’s more significance to what food’s being served in there tonight,” manager Terry Francona said, motioning toward the clubhouse.
Just like they did in their win a night earlier, the Red Sox jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead.
The first of Dustin Pedroia’s two RBI singles off Matt Harrison (10-9) put Boston ahead to stay in the first. Ortiz immediately followed with his run-scoring hit and then scored from first base on Crawford’s two-run double into the right-field corner even though the relay throw beat him to the plate.
It appeared that Napoli had the one-hop relay in his mitt, but the ball came out when the catcher swiped to tag Ortiz and the Red Sox led 4-0.
After Ortiz had a leadoff double in the fifth, Jed Lowrie had a sacrifice bunt and Crawford a sacrifice fly. Ortiz lumbered home and clipped the back of Napoli’s leg with his flop slide just ahead of the throw.
“He was moving today pretty good,” Washington said before chuckling. “Nothing wrong with his heel, he’s been faking it.”
Josh Beckett (11-5) allowed one run and four hits over six innings and showed some quick reflexes to make a defensive gem by catching a comeback liner.
Harrison gave up seven runs and 11 hits over five innings with four strikeouts and one walk. The left-hander still has a 3.59 ERA this season, but that has risen from 2.94 in August, when he is 1-2 his five starts.
“They just put some hits together, that’s all,” Washington said. “You’ve got to match their pitching and if you don’t match their pitching, the game can get away. And it got away from us.”
Beckett struck out four and walked two while throwing 110 pitches. The right-hander allowed 13 earned runs in 12 innings his previous two starts against Texas, both last season.
When Ian Kinsler hit a hard liner up the middle in the fifth, Beckett turned his head and put up his glove.
“That ball caught me,” Beckett said. “I didn’t catch it.”
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