ARLINGTON (AP) – A little wild streak by Texas closer Joe Nathan helped the Boston Red Sox end their four-game losing skid.
Daniel Nava and pinch hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia drew consecutive two-out walks from Nathan in the ninth inning, then Mike Aviles blooped a tiebreaking single that lifted the Red Sox over the Rangers 2-1 Tuesday night.
The consecutive walks were certainly uncharacteristic for Nathan (1-3), who had issued only five walks in 38 1-3 innings going into the game. After retiring Cody Ross and Will Middlebrooks to start the ninth on six pitches, Nathan snapped a career-long stretch of 80 straight appearances with one or fewer walks.
“(Nathan) put it in the strike zone and got two quick outs, then all of a sudden he couldn’t find the strike zone,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “Give Aviles credit, he got a good pitch, poked it over the infield and we just couldn’t get to it.”
The Rangers had a prime scoring opportunity in the eighth inning. Andrus beat out a single and made it to third on an unusual two-base throwing error by pitcher Vicente Padilla (4-0).
Padilla threw to first in an attempt to pick off Andrus, got the return throw from first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, then almost immediately threw back to Gonzalez, who wasn’t expecting it and the ball rolled to the wall.
With two outs, Padilla hit Adrian Beltre, knocking his helmet off and sending him to the ground. After Beltre left the game with a bruise, Michael Young grounded out to end the inning.
“We had some chances and we just didn’t get the hits,” Washington said.
Alfredo Aceves notched his 21st save of the season.
Cody Ross scored for Boston in the fourth when he walked and Kelly Shoppach doubled on a drive that right fielder David Murphy misplayed at the warning track.
The Rangers had a player hit a double for the third consecutive inning in the sixth when Andrus doubled with one out. Andrus went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a slow groundout by Josh Hamilton.
Boston starter Clay Buchholz gave up only four hits in seven innings.
Martin Perez, called up from Triple-A Round Rock on Monday after starter Colby Lewis was put on the disabled list for season-ending surgery, pitched six innings, giving up five hits.
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