And just like that, the Red Sox are done with road games for 2019. Boston has, of course, been much better on the road this season in a strange turn of events, and they had a chance to finish their road schedule with a sweep. It just wasn’t in the cards, though, with the Rangers showing too much power for that to happen. The Sox did jump out in front early, but every time Boston showed signs of life the Rangers had a big swing or two to turn things in their favor. So, the Red Sox settled for two out of three in their final trip to Globe Life Park.
The Red Sox are basically just padding any stats and their win total at this point with nothing else to play for, and they had a chance for a sweep in their final road series of the year. Given how much better they’ve played on the road all season long, it would be kind of fitting for their final week of the season to include a sweep on the road and some sort of disappointment at home against the Orioles. That said, things were not in their favor for this final game in Texas. Boston was going with a bullpen game fronted by Travis Lakins, while Texas had their best pitcher in Mike Minor on the mound.
Early on, however, the pitching for both side dominated the day. Lakins would get a big double play in the first to work around a walk and an error before tossing a perfect second. Brian Johnson then came out for the third and issued a two-out walk but nothing more. On the other side, Minor was perfect in his first trip through the Red Sox order with five of the first nine batters going down by way of the K.
So, we headed into the top of the fourth without a whole lot of action, but the Red Sox changed that very quickly. Marco Hernández, who was in the leadoff spot on Thursday, kicked things off with a single, and he would eventually move up to third on a one-out J.D. Martinez single. That put runners on the corners for Sam Travis, who gave Boston their third base hit of the inning as well as their first run. A couple batters later, Gorkys Hernández had the big swing with a double out to bring one more run home before Jackie Bradley Jr.’s infield single brought home a third. By the time the dust settled, the Red Sox had a 3-0 lead. It is also worth noting Andrew Benintendi fouled a ball off his foot in this inning, forcing him to exit. Travis moved from first base to left field while Sandy León moved from catcher to first base and Juan Centeno came in to catch. Sure, why not?
Now, it was up to the bullpen to hold on to the lead they were just handed. Johnson came back out for the bottom of the fourth, and he started the inning off with a leadoff walk. He would eventually give up a fielder’s choice, a stolen base and get a strikeout, putting a runner in scoring position with two outs. He almost got out of it, but Nick Solak smacked a double out to left field to put Texas on the board. After one more walk, Johnson was out of the game and Trevor Kelley came in to get an inning-ending strikeout.
Boston sent just three batters to the plate in the fifth, and Mike Shawaryn came on for the bottom of the inning. He struggled mightily, starting with a leadoff single. The Rangers would then get a stolen base, another single and a walk, and suddenly the bases were full with one out in this two-run game. It would not be a two-run game very long with Danny Santana coming to the plate. He got a terrible breaking ball that stayed right over the heart of the plate and smashed it out to right-center field for a grand slam. Just like that, it was a two-run lead for the Rangers. Colten Brewer would eventually have to come on to finish the innings.
Both sides failed to do anything in the sixth, and then the Red Sox brought the power into the top of the seventh. Bradley led this inning off and he got a first-pitch slider down in the zone that he jumped all over for a solo shot, bringing Boston to within one. A couple batters later, Chris Owings came up and crushed a first pitch fastball into the left field seats, and this game was all tied up at five. They’d get two more in scoring position, too, but they were stranded.
Unfortunately, the good times did not last very long. Ryan Weber was on for his second inning of work, and the tie lasted only three pitches. On that third pitch to Willie Calhoun, the ball left the yard and the Rangers were back in front. A couple batters later, Rougned Odor added another one for good measure with a no-doubter. So, after seven it was a 7-5 lead for Texas.
The Red Sox went down on three pitches in the eighth, and the Rangers went down in order in the bottom of the inning. Now, the Red Sox had one more chance in the ninth with Minor still on the mound as the lefty was looking for strikeout number 200. (He was stuck on 199.) The lefty got that strikeout after having his first baseman let an easy pop up drop in foul ground for strike two. People had takes about that, but I am not one of them. José Leclerc then came on and got the final out to give Texas the win.
The Red Sox now head back home for the final series of 2019. They’ll be taking on the Orioles for their final three games, with Nathan Eovaldi taking on Asher Wojciechowski. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.