BY: Richard W. Humphrey
(ARLINGTON, Texas) – The Rangers’ Colby Lewis (11-9) struggled Tuesday night, giving up seven runs in the first four innings to Boston and putting the Rangers in a hole they couldn’t crawl out of. Boston routed Texas 11-5 to even this all important series for both teams at a game apiece.
Lewis managed to get through six innings to limit the Ranger bullpen’s workload. It was obvious from the beginning though that it wasn’t his night. Adrian Gonzalez started the Boston scoring with a two-run blast into the right field upper deck in the first. A single and a sacrifice fly drove home two more in the second inning. Another sacrifice fly and a double plated two more in the third. Gonzalez tagged Lewis for a second home run in the fourth to complete to scoring against the Ranger right-hander.
The two home runs allowed brought Lewis’ league leading total to 30 on the year. He finished with seven earned runs allowed on nine hits, struck out two, walked two and threw 102 pitches. The outing pushed his ERA up to 4.07.
Boston completed its scoring and turned the game into a rout with two runs off Darren Oliver and two more off Mark Lowe in the eighth inning.
Texas came back from the early 6-0 deficit with three runs in the third. A bases loaded walk and two sacrifice flies drove in the runs to halve the deficit. Josh Hamilton matched Gonzalez’s second home run with a round tripper of his own in the fifth, his 17th, to cut Boston’s lead to 7-4. The Rangers had base runners in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, but the only additional damage to the scoreboard was an Ian Kinsler solo home run (21st) in the ninth.
John Lackey (12-9) started and was the winning pitcher for Boston. He was knocked out in the seventh inning, after allowing four runs on seven hits. Not a stellar performance, but good enough to win Tuesday night, especially with 11 runs of support from his offense.
The loss cost Texas one-half game in the standings. In Anaheim, the Angels got a bases loaded ninth inning single to walk-off with a 5-4 victory over the White Sox to cut another one-half game off the Texas lead in the West, which is now 3.5 games.
Josh Beckett will face Matt Harrison Wednesday night, in a game that will start an hour earlier than usual (6:05 PM CDT) as it is being televised by ESPN.
NOTES: Ranger manager Ron Washington said before Tuesday’s game that there is no time table for the return of third baseman Adrian Beltre (strained hamstring). He would shed no light at all simply saying, “I’m staying out of the time table business.” Beltre is not running the bases at full speed yet, much less contemplating a minor league re-hab stint, so the signs say it is unlikely that he will be activated this month.