The Red Sox offense finally looked the way we had been expecting them to look for the first two games of this series, jumping out to early leads and running away with two straight wins. To get the sweep, they were going to need to continue that pace against old friend Martín Pérez. While the lefty pitched his way out of the Red Sox rotation by last summer, he is back starting for the Rangers and looking very good so far this season, a rare bright spot on this Texas pitching staff. He was able to keep it up on Sunday, and ultimately squashing any hopes the Red Sox had of pulling off the sweep.
It wasn’t a totally smooth ride for Pérez, though, even though the results were good. Boston had a chance to get some early offense in the top half of the first, starting with a one-out bloop double from Rafael Devers. J.D. Martinez followed that up with a clean base hit, and there were a pair in scoring position with Xander Bogaerts coming up. It was a big chance, but Pérez was able to miss some bats, striking out both Bogaerts and Trevor Story to strand the runners and keep the Sox off the board. They’d get a pair in scoring position for Bogaerts again in the third, but this time his hard-hit grounder was scooped up by Corey Seager to end the inning and again stranding both.
The good news is the Red Sox were able to keep runs off the board themselves on the other side, with a bullpen game playing out on the mound. Things started off with the lefty Austin Davis, making his first career start. He was phenomenal, handling his two innings of work with ease as he set down all six batters he faced, striking out a pair. After him, Tanner Houck got the call as the bulk guy of sorts in this game. He didn’t quite match Davis’ showing, issuing a two-out walk in the first, but otherwise he was perfect through his first two innings to keep this game scoreless heading into the fifth.
Here, the Red Sox were finally able to convert a chance against Pérez, with the rally starting on a weak single from Enrique Hernández, keeping the inning alive with two outs and Devers coming up to the plate. He already had a pair of hits in this game, and he made it three by smacking his second double of the day. While the first one was some fortunate weak contact, this was a rocket out to center field and brought Hernández all the way around from first, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.
They couldn’t get Devers in from there to add on to their lead, and as a result it did not last very long. Kole Calhoun came up to lead off the fifth with Texas still searching for its first hit of the day. He did them one better, jumping on a 1-0 fastball down in the zone and sending it out to center field for a solo shot, tying the game just two pitches into the bottom half of the fifth. To his credit, Houck did get three straight ground balls to finish out that inning, and his outing.
Boston then wasted a leadoff walk in the sixth, bringing Ryan Brasier out for the bottom half of the inning, where this game would ultimately be lost. Brasier continued to struggle out of the bullpen, giving up a one-out double to Marcus Semien before issuing a walk to Corey Seager. After a big strikeout, it came down to Adolis García with two outs. The Rangers outfielder was all over a middle-middle fastball, sending it out to right-center field for a three-run shot, giving Texas a 4-1 lead. In the next at bat, Calhoun came through with his second homer of the day, and it was a four-run inning against Brasier, and a four-run lead for the Rangers.
The Red Sox offense never had an answer after that big inning from Texas, putting a runner in scoring position in each of the eighth and ninth innings but not really pushing much beyond that. On the other side, Tyler Danish got the call for the final two innings. The righty retired the side in order in the seventh, but in the eighth he gave up a base hit before serving up García’s second homer of the day, this one just past a leaping Franchy Cordero giving the Rangers two hitters with multiple homers in this game. That exclamation point would make it a 7-1 lead, which ended up as the final with the Red Sox squandering their chance at their first sweep of 2022.
The Red Sox now head back home for a quick turnaround tomorrow night, when they start a four-game series against the Astros. Garrett Whitlock will get the start in the opener to take on Jake Odorizzi, with first pitch set for 7:10 PM ET.