The Texas Rangers were swept by the worst team in baseball just before the All Star break, but bounced back by taking three games of a four game series with the Boston Red Sox over the weekend. C.J. Wilson recorded a double digit strikeout total in the final game Sunday.
Wilson went 6 2/3 innings allowing only three hits, one run and, and struck out a career-high 10 batters. The Red Sox defense didn’t help the cause of John Lester, who was saddled with the loss. The Rangers utilized their speed on the base paths to force the Red Sox into some mistakes.
“After being a closer a couple of years, I enjoy a little pressure in the ballgame,” Wilson said. “I’ve always enjoyed pitching here. The fans are into it. I’ve always enjoyed this mound.”
In the top of the fourth Josh Hamilton scored when Adrian Beltre bobbled catcher Dusty Brown’s attempt to throw out Nelson Cruz at third. Julio Borbon stole home on a double steal attempt initiated by Elvis Cruz. Texas manager Ron Washington showed a smirk on his face when asked if the double steal was his brain child.
“Elvis did a great job of stopping and allowing Julio to take off,” Washington said. “He [Borbon] snuck in under the tag.”
Boston manager Terry Francona said after the game that it is next to impossible to recover from fielding errors while the opposing pitcher is dealing. The only time the Red Sox answered a Rangers score was a futile run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
“We didn’t finish a couple of plays, and the way Wilson was pitching, that ended up being too much,” Francona said.
Lester went eight strong innings striking out six, but gave up nine hits and three earned runs. The lack in run support for the Red Sox lately is due to the absence of Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jason Varitek. All could have contributed more to the 25 hit, 11 run total in the series versus the Rangers. Kevin Youkilis did his best to pick up the slack with seven hits over the weekend.
The Rangers are now in first place by 4 1/2 games in the American Leauge West with a 53-39 record. After dropping three of four, the Red Sox fall to 3 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees for the lead in the AL East. MLB betting odds have set the Red Sox chances to win the 2010 AL Championship at 13/2.
MLB sportsbooks have set the Rangers as the underdog in the first game of their next series with the Detroit Tigers at Even odds. The best online sportsbooks predict the Red Sox as the favorite to beat the Oakland Athletics in their early week series at -115.