BOSTON — The Texas Rangers intentionally walked Dustin Pedroia with a man on second and nobody out to get to David Ortiz in the ninth inning on Thursday night. With a lefty on the mound and a base open, the move made sense.
Right move. Wrong result.
For Texas, anyway.
Ortiz crushed Michael Kirkman's second actual pitch of the inning into the visitors' bullpen for a three-run homer that gave the Red Sox a 6-3 win and a 2-1 series victory in the battle of teams with the best records in the American League.
The win moved the first-place Red Sox 13 games over .500, matching their season high.
Jonny Gomes greeted Kirkman (0-2) by hitting his first pitch for a double, Gomes' fourth hit of the game. Pedroia, who had a two-run double in the third but had an otherwise tough night at the plate, was then walked before Ortiz hit his 11th career walk-off homers, the 10th with the Red Sox.
Closer Andrew Bailey (2-0) pitched around a leadoff hit in the top of the inning for the win.
Boston tied the score against the Texas bullpen in the seventh when the Rangers failed to turn a double play with the bases loaded. Ex-Ranger Mike Napoli picked up his 47th RBI of the season. He had 56 all last season.
Boston's Jon Lester, making his 200th career start, worked the first six innings and left on the hook for the loss. But he is winless in four starts.
Texas left-hander Derek Holland, 4-0 with two no-decisions in his last six starts and on a five-game winning streak against the Red Sox, also pitched six inning, leaving with the lead.
Jeff Baker and Adrian Beltre, who had four hits, homered for the Rangers.
Jacoby Ellsbury, back after missing five games with groin tightness, also had four hits. The Red Sox got eight of their 13 hits from the top two spots in the lineup.
A.J. Pierzynski stroked two doubles for Texas.
Some nifty defense by Gomes in left helped Lester stay close through the early innings.
The Rangers had taken a 2-0 lead in the second on a long ground-rule double by Pierzynski and Baker's second homer of the series when Lance Berkman led off the third with a ball off the wall in left. Gomes bobbled the carom and the slow-footed Berkman took off for second. He was out -- by a lot.
The out became significant when Beltre followed with his second hit of the game, a homer that made him 9-for-24 lifetime against Lester.
Pedroia's long double to center (extending his hitting streak to 10 games) brought the Red Sox back in the bottom of the inning.
With one out on the fourth, Lester walked Craig Gentry. Jurickson Profar then hit a drive to left center that Gomes ran down and gloved as he fell into the wall. Elvis Andrus singled before Gomes handled David Murphy's liner to left to end the inning.
Holland pitched out of trouble by getting Pedroia to hit into a double play and Ortiz to ground out in the first, and Gentry threw Napoli out from center field trying for a double leading off the second.
In the fifth, Ellsbury led off with a long double that likely would have been a triple had it not bounced into the Sox bullpen. Gomes then singled for his second hit of the night, with Ellsbury going to third. Pedroia followed with a slow grounder to first and Berkman, the regular DH playing first with Mitch Moreland hurt, charged and threw Iglesias out at the plate. Ortiz then banged into a double play to kill that threat.
NOTES: The Rangers placed Moreland (hamstring) on the 15-day disabled list and purchased 1B Chris McGuiness from Triple-A Round Rock. RHP Colby Lewis was moved from the 15- to the 60-day DL to make room for McGuiness, a former Red Sox prospect, on the 40-man roster. ... Jason Collins, the former Celtic who recently became the first active player in pro team sports to declare his homosexuality, threw out the first pitch before the game. "This is an opportunity for us, as an organization to ... we respect his courage, we respect his choices and this is an opportunity to showcase that," said Boston manager John Farrell, who caught the pitch. ... LHP Felix Doubront opens Boston's rain-threatened three-game series with the Angels on Friday night, facing RHP Tommy Hanson. Rookie RHP Nick Tepesch opens the Rangers' three-game series at Toronto against RHP Esmil Rogers. ... The Red Sox, with the seventh pick in the draft thanks to losing 93 games last year, tabbed P/OF Trey Ball of Newcastle, Ind., a lanky hard thrower who has committed to the University of Texas.