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Red Sox bats have easier time in 8-3 win at Texas
Boston starter Jon Lester delivers a pitch in the seventh inning of the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
Rangers left-hander Martin Perez struggled early and Boston starter Jon Lester was serviceable in Boston's 8-3 win.
"It didn't seem like he could get in a rhythm," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of his pitcher. "I felt like if he continued to fight out there he could get it together."
Perez did seem to get a better handle after giving up runs initially, ending the second and third innings with Boston runners still on base. But that changed in the fourth frame.
The Red Sox built a 2-0 lead in the first three innings and bolstered it with four runs in the fourth and two in the eighth to coast to victory.
Perez, who leads the Rangers with eight starts, lost his third consecutive outing. He made it only 3 2/3 innings, giving up nine hits and six earned runs.
Taking the mound just a day after Darvish's stunning performance in front of a home crowd, Perez had all eyes on him in front of a sell-out Saturday night crowd at Globe Life Park. Washington was quick to state that Darvish's gem didn't hang over Perez.
"One don't have an effect on the other," the Rangers' manager said.
Boston is now 9-4 against left-handed starters, much better than the team's 9-14 record against right-handers.
Lester picked up his fourth win of the season and his second in a row. He pitched seven innings, giving up four hits and three earned runs with eight strikeouts.
"He is a tough guy to face," Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "He was painting all the corners and not missing on his spots."
"It definitely was a grind tonight," Lester said. He mentioned that the warmer weather (mid-80s) made it easier for him to stay loose between innings.
In the second inning, Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks, center fielder Jackie Bradley and second baseman Dustin Pedroia all got on base. Right fielder Shane Victorino drove home Middlebrooks with a single.
Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz smacked a solo homer in the third, the 438th home run of his career. The blast moved Ortiz into a tie with Jason Giambi and Andre Dawson for 40th in major league history.
Bradley and Pedroia scored in the fifth on a base hit from Victorino. Ortiz's double moved Victorino to third and a hit by left fielder Jonny Gomes scored both, moving the score to 6-0.
"I definitely wanted to be aggressive with balls in the zone," Bradley said. "See a good pitch that I could handle, whether it was inside or out. We wanted to take full advantage by jumping out on them early."
Texas scored in the bottom of the fourth when left fielder Shin Soo-Choo crossed the plate on Prince Fielder's sacrifice fly. Designated hitter Alex Rios tripled for another run.
A double from shortstop Elvis Andrus scored second baseman Luis Sardinas in the fifth.
The Rangers (19-18) were a season-high six games above .500 at 15-9 on April 26 but have gone 4-9 in the past two weeks. The Red Sox (18-18) are 6-5 during that same span.
Sunday's game will be the last in the season series between the clubs. Boston has won three of five games.
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NOTES: Texas pitching coach Mike Maddux was ejected in the eighth inning. ... Texas LF Shin Soo-Choo entered Saturday's game with the fourth-best batting average in MLB, despite going 1-for-11 in the past three games. ... On Friday, Rangers RHP Yu Darvish carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning with two outs before it was broken up. Since the start of the 2012 MLB season, Darvish has five perfect-game bids through five innings or more -- best in the majors. ... DH David Ortiz accounted for the lone Boston hit in Darvish's gem. It was Boston's fewest hits in a game since Sept. 28, 2012, against Baltimore.