The first time the Red Sox faced the Rangers this year, they were stomped. 7-0 and 5-1 thrashings followed by an Adrian Beltre walkoff left the Red Sox completely off-balance. The next eight games would provide just two wins as the team spiraled out of control.
How do you exorcise demons like that? Well, scoring 17 runs doesn't hurt.
In the top of the first, Ryan Dempster gave Sox fans reason for concern, looking wild and allowing two of the first three batters he faced to reach base before escaping the inning. Those fears were eased some when Daniel Nava and Mike Carp scored on a David Ortiz double and Jarrod Saltalamacchia ground out respectively.
Then in the top of the second Dempster settled down, allowing just an infield single, and the Red Sox ended the game with a six-run outburst. Jackie Bradley Jr. got the scoring started with a bang, hitting his first major league homer--a two-run shot with Jose Iglesias on base--on a Justin Grimm changeup that floated invitingly over the middle of the plate, David Ortiz managed to find the triangle after Daniel Nava and Mike Carp reached base for the second straight inning, and actually managed to chug around to third before the ball got back into the infield. A sac fly brought him home, and doubles from Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew wrapped up the attack, leaving the Sox ahead 8-0.
Teams have come back from 8-0 before. The Rangers have overcome significant deficits against the Red Sox before. Not tonight. Not tonight. Dempster would fall victim to a couple of homers himself, as the balls continued to fly out of Fenway park, but struck out six and walked just one to keep the runners on base down. By the end of seven, the Rangers had only managed to claw three back.
Those three might have made a bigger dent had the Rangers found someone capable of throwing a scoreless inning. But that would take them until the eighth, with the Sox building a picket fence in the third, fourth, and fifth before putting up four in the sixth and another pair in the seventh. Stephen Drew, Mike Carp, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia all contributed homers, with Drew, Nava, and Carp each reaching base four times on the night.
The story after the second, though, is mostly one of statistics. By then, the game was well over. Outfielder David Murphy even made an appearance on the mound, ironically providing the Rangers with their only scoreless inning of the night.
There are wins, and then there's a night like this. The Red Sox just produced their most dominant game of the season, and it came against the same team that beat them so badly down in Texas.
The total score for the series now stands at 21 runs a side, for what it's worth.