Red Sox 8, Rangers 3: Sox find offense from bottom to top, return to .500

Ronald Martinez

The bottom of the lineup set the table, and the top cashed in, bringing the Red Sox back into the win column.

The Red Sox bounced back from a disaster performance on Friday night with a solid showing at the plate and on the mound, making their way back to .500 with an 8-3 win over Martin Perez and the Rangers.

After nearly being no-hit Friday night, the Red Sox wasted little time in getting a base knock against Martin Perez. Shane Victorino did the honors with one down in the first, though he and Mike Napoli would eventually be stranded when Leonys Martin tracked down a hard hit ball by Jonny Gomes to end the inning.

With no lead to work with, Jon Lester took the mound and endured a laborious first at bat, striking out Shin-Soo Choo, but only after the outfielder say 10 pitches. He got out of the inning in quick order, however, bringing Boston's lineup back to the plate.

This time, the Sox would not completely waste their opportunity, but they did manage to take a potentially big inning and shrink it down as small as possible while still being productive. David Ross gave the Sox their first baserunner of the frame with a walk, then promptly ran into an out at second base, presumably the victim of a missed sign. That loss was made all the more annoying when Will Middlebrooks singled, Jackie Bradley Jr. was hit by a pitch, and Dustin Pedroia walked to load the bases with two outs. But the Sox had not learned their lesson completely. Shane Victorino hit a flare to center--enough to score the first run of the game--but not nearly enough to justify what followed, with Bradley running into an easy out at home, ending the inning.

Now, the results of an at-bat are not pre-determined. Given different situations in terms of inning, outs, score, and baserunners, Perez may well have pitched his next at bat against David Ortiz differently. Still, when Ortiz led off the third by losing a solo shot out in the right field stands, it was hard to view it as a home run gained rather than a grand slam lost as a result of the out made at home.

Still, it was 2-0 Red Sox, and Jon Lester was dealing, finishing up the bottom of the third still without a baserunner to his name. Then, in the fourth, the Sox blew the game open. Once again Shane Victorino was good for the big hit with runners in scoring position, singling home Jackie Bradley Jr. and Dustin Pedroia with one out to put the Red Sox ahead 4-0. David Ortiz doubled behind him to give the Sox another pair of RISP, and while Mike Napoli wasn't able to get the job done, Jonny Gomes singled both home, ending Perez' night and putting the Sox ahead by six runs.

The game would not always be such a laugher. Jon Lester, to that point untouchable, ended up faltering in the fourth, surrendering a pair of runs to leave Boston's lead at just four runs. The Rangers would get on the board again in the fifth, too, with Elvis Andrus doubling home Luis Sardinas, leaving the Red Sox' lead just half of what it had once been.

From there, however, Lester tightened up, keeping the Rangers from drawing any closer, finishing out the seventh inning before handing off the ball to Junichi Tazawa, Burke Badenhop, and Andrew Miller. The same productive portion of the lineup made Boston's lead two runs more comfortable with Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino picking up an RBI a piece in capping the successful inning. Even with five runs to spare, however, Boston's bullpen wasn't about to give anything up, wrapping up the win that left the Red Sox right back at .500.

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