The Texas Rangers, backed by a sensational day at the plate by Bengie Molina, improved to 52-38 on the year after they defeated the Boston Red Sox 8-4 on Friday. Molina became the fifth player in Rangers history to hit for the cycle after he completed the task with his first triple since April 29, 2009 in the eighth inning. He hit the ball to the deepest part of Fenway Park as the ball bounced off of Eric Patterson’s glove to allow him to reach third.
“When I saw the ball going away from him, I just put my head down and kept going,” Molina said. “For a guy who has been criticized for his speed for 11½ years and may be the slowest guy in the world, it was an unbelievable feeling.”
Molina looked over his shoulder at Patterson as he rounded second and hobbled into third. He slipped rounding first and left the game a few pitches later with tightness in his right quadriceps. He was replaced by pinch-runner Joaquin Arias who scored the game’s final run on a sacrifice fly.
Molina was acquired by the Rangers from the San Francisco Giants on July 1 to help with the problems they had at catcher. The most important hit in the game was his grand slam which broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth inning and put the game out of reach.
“That was more special than the cycle actually, because it put us ahead,” he said.
The Rangers headed into the All-Star break on a four-game losing streak. But the AL West leading club has responded well and have won the first two games of their four-game series with Boston. On Thursday, Molina homered in their first game which capped a six-run first inning as they went on to their 7-2 win.
“The last two nights every mistake we make he hits,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “He’s knocking the ball all over the ballpark.”
Both teams began the day with 51-38 records. The Red Sox have been plagued by injuries lately and have lost seven of their last nine games. The two teams will square off again today at 7:10 with Cliff Lee on the mound for the Rangers and John Lackey will start for Boston. The Rangers will be favored by MLB sportsbooks with a moneyline at -150. The Red Sox have theirs set at +135.