BOSTON (AP) — There’s something about Boston Red Sox pitchers and 20-strikeout games.
There have been six major league games with that many strikeouts and the Red Sox made the list for the third time, fanning that many Texas Rangers for a 6-2 victory Thursday night and a sweep of the three-game series.
Five Boston pitchers combined on the 20 strikeouts with starter Drew Pomeranz getting 11 in six innings and closer Craig Kimbrel getting four in the ninth when the leadoff batter reached on a wild pitch strike three. Boston’s Roger Clemens twice reached 20 strikeouts by himself.
“His stuff is nasty. What he is doing right now I have never seen anything like that,” Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes said of Kimbrel.
Kimbrel has retired 53 of the last 56 batters he has faced and right-handed hitters are on an 0-for-41 streak.
Xander Bogaerts and Deven Marrero hit their first home runs of the season helping Boston to its fourth straight win.
“A lot has been made about our home run totals or lack thereof,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Tonight was the first of what should be many more.”
Pomeranz (4-3), who tied his career high with the 11 strikeouts, made it as far as six innings for the third time this season and beat Texas for the first time in nine career outings.
“Felt lost for a couple of starts and wasn’t satisfied,” said Pomeranz, who gave up four hits and walked one. “Tonight I felt more like last year.”
Elvis Andrus homered and Nomar Mazara had two hits and an RBI for Texas, which has lost four of five overall and 15 of 21 on the road.
“The sweep is surprising,” Andrus said. “But that’s the beauty of baseball, I guess. You cannot take any team for granted. Even when you feel you’re playing at your best, stuff like this can happen.”
Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland had RBI singles in the first inning as Boston got to Rangers starter Nick Martinez (1-3) early.
Bogaerts hit a two-run homer in the third to put Boston ahead 4-0. Despite finishing with 21 home runs last year, Bogaerts needed 46 games to connect for the first time this season.
“Good to get one over the wall and get it out of the way,” Bogaerts said.
Mike Napoli struck out four times while Pete Kozma and Andrus went down three times each. Every Ranger starter struck out at least once.
“Pomeranz was throwing well,” Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. “Obviously their bullpen came in and threw well also and they played better than we did overall tonight.”
Marrero homered in the eighth off Alex Claudio.
Martinez gave up four runs in five innings and is winless in four starts against Boston with a 6.46 ERA.
Andrus cut Boston’s lead to 4-1 in the fourth inning with the homer, snapping an 0-for-9 drought.
Moreland tied his career high by driving in at least one run for the sixth straight game and extended his hitting streak to seven games, batting .393 in that stretch.
Boston swept Texas for the first time at Fenway Park since 2008. Since 2009, Texas has the best winning percentage at Fenway Park in the major leagues at .600.
Pomeranz recorded his 500th career strikeout when he whiffed Napoli for the final out of the fourth inning, his eighth of the game.
Rangers: 3B Adrian Beltre will play in extended spring training games in Arizona the next three days after being sidelined all season with a calf strain.
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia was removed from the game after five innings for precautionary reasons due to left knee pain. He is listed as day to day. … LHP David Price will make his season debut Monday in Chicago against the White Sox despite surrendering six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings over his last two rehab starts. … 3B Pablo Sandoval is 3 for 13 in four rehab games.
Rangers: Will send RHP A.J. Griffin (4-1) in the opener at Toronto.
Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (3-1) looks to win his fourth straight decision when they entertain Seattle on Friday.