BOSTON (AP) – This time, Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers put up the big numbers in a strange season series of blowout games against the Boston Red Sox.
Hamilton capped Texas’ seven-run sixth inning with a bases-loaded triple and Matt Harrison had a solid start, carrying the Rangers to an 11-4 win over the Red Sox on Sunday.
Ian Kinsler homered, drove in three runs and made a stellar defensive play for the AL West-leading Rangers, who took two of three in a weekend series that continued the trend of lopsided scores between the teams.
“You’ve got two teams that are potent offensively,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “But, once again, it’s about pitching. You go against teams like the Rangers, Red Sox and Yankees and you better bring your pitching — or it can happen like it did today.”
The Rangers took the season series 6-4, outscoring the Red Sox 51-15 in games they won. Boston had a 42-14 edge in its victories.
There wasn’t a game decided by less than four runs between the teams, and six times the winning team posted double figures in runs.
“It seems like one of us is whooping each other’s butts from one night to the next,” Hamilton said. “No close games. They have a good offense and we have a good offense.”
Boston went 4-5 on its nine-game homestand and fell to 1 1/2 games behind AL East-leading New York, which beat Toronto 9-3 on Sunday.
Marco Scutaro had a two-run single for the Red Sox.
Harrison (11-9) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings in his first start since he struggled in a loss to the Red Sox on Aug. 24. Texas opted to skip his previous turn in the rotation and the left-hander pitched two scoreless innings in relief against Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
The extra rest made him feel much stronger from the beginning.
“I felt good coming into this game,” he said. “It’s a tough place to pitch for one, and it’s a good lineup. You have to be on top of your game.”
Texas won 10-0 in the series opener on Friday, and the Red Sox rebounded with a 12-7 victory Saturday.
“When you get to the bullpen before you want to, both teams have such good offenses and you make a mistake and you spread it out,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “We haven’t played that many close games. You get to the bullpen in the fourth or fifth and both teams have been able to spread those games out.”
The Rangers broke it open in the sixth, chasing John Lackey (12-11) while building a 9-0 lead. Michael Young had a leadoff single and Adrian Beltre singled for his 2,000th career hit. David Murphy followed with a run-scoring single and Lackey walked Mike Napoli, the last batter he faced.
Felix Doubront relieved and Mitch Moreland snapped an 0-for-20 stretch with an RBI single before pinch-hitter Esteban German walked to force in a run. Kinsler added a sacrifice fly and Doubront reloaded the bases with a walk before Hamilton tripled into the triangle in center field.
It was another rout in the making.
“They’ve got a good lineup, man, they’re tough,” Lackey said. “They definitely worked me, got my pitch count up quite a bit there in the sixth inning. They got enough of hits to get me out of there, and it just didn’t go real good after that.”
Doubront was charged with three runs and retired just one batter. Matt Albers finally got out of the inning thanks to a nice running catch by right fielder Darnell McDonald with two runners on.
Kinsler and Napoli homered off Michael Bowden in the ninth. Napoli’s drive landed high off a back wall in left-center.
Lackey, who had won seven of his last 10 starts, allowed six runs and eight hits, walked three and hit a batter. Like a few other times this season, he left the mound to a spattering of boos.
Napoli singled in a run in the second and Kinsler added a run-scoring triple in the third, a drive to right-center that barely sailed over Conor Jackson’s outstretched glove just before he crashed into the wall at full speed. Lackey escaped further damage when he grabbed Elvis Andrus’ hard liner back to the mound and doubled off Kinsler.
Jackson, who was holding his left arm and flexing his right knee, left with a bruised right knee an inning later and was replaced by McDonald.
Kinsler’s splendid play likely saved a run in the fifth. He made a fully stretched dive to snag Jacoby Ellsbury’s liner in shallow center with a runner on second. Ellsbury threw his helmet to the ground in disbelief.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)