Clay Buchholz Can't Escape The Long Ball As Rangers Complete Sweep Of Red Sox

If there's one thing this Red Sox - Rangers series has instilled in me, it's a deep hatred for The Natural.

If you've watched all three games, then you've heard this song eleven times in the past few days. It is, of course, from the movie The Natural, played during the slightly-too sentimental and over-the-top (but none-the-less classic) final scene when Robert Redford hits a pennant-winning home run amidst lightning strikes and showers of sparks and glass.

It's rather less dramatic when they play it every damn time a Ranger goes deep. Especially when they go deep about once every other inning.

Such was, again, the story today in Arlington, Texas. Clay Buchholz, getting the start for the Sox, actually managed to survive until the second inning before allowing the first homer of the game, but then the flood gates were opened. David Murphy got it started with two down, digging out a fastball tailing down-and-in--actually a fairly good pitch--and sending it drifting over the wall in right field. One inning later, again with two outs, Ian Kinsler got a hanging changeup from Clay Buchholz and swung hard, launching it out to left. In the fifth, it was Mike Napoli making it double digits for the Rangers, clubbing their tenth homer in three days.

Amazingly, those were the only three hits Clay had given up to that point, which kept the score down to just 3-0, and giving the Sox a shot to tie it in the seventh. While Matt Harrison had been looking like a Cy Young caliber pitcher to this point, a leadoff walk to Kevin Youkilis and a single from David Ortiz showed that he was not, in fact, untouchable. And when Carl Crawford got a hanging breaking ball, he didn't waste the opportunity, lining it into center field to finally put the Sox on the board with a run. With Darnell McDonald drawing a walk to load the bases, Jacoby Ellsbury was given a shot to tie the game, but Harrison fanned him to save the lead.

Clay Buchholz, lasting longer than either Lester or Lackey had, came back out to start the seventh, and even recorded an out. And then Nelson Cruz hit another fly ball.

Cue the music.

If Sox fans weren't feeling bad enough, Terry Francona sent Jonathan Papelbon in just to get some work. And while the closer did manage to strike out the final three batters he faced in Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, and David Murphy, that came only after allowing a run and loading the bases.

The Sox managed no more offense, and the Rangers completed the sweep with a 5-1 win.

Time to get the hell out of Dodge. 

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