ARLINGTON — Red Sox starter Josh Beckett clearly wasn’t trying to hit Elvis Andrus with a pitch.
And while Beckett obviously wanted to pitch around Michael Young, he certainly didn’t mean to throw several feet wide of the plate and allow Andrus to score.
Those two wild throws by Beckett in the seventh inning produced the go-ahead run for the Texas Rangers, who went on to win 5-3 on Wednesday night to clinch their seventh consecutive home series.
“Josh gave us a zero in the first inning, as promised, and pitched a good game,” Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. “Nobody on in the seventh, then a wild pitch to score a go-ahead run. … It’s a damn shame.”
Will Middlebrooks and Dustin Pedroia hit solo homers, but they were the only Red Sox to reach during an otherwise dominating stretch when Rangers left-hander Derek Holland (7-5) retired 20 of 22 batters.
“We’ve got to score more runs and just play better. It’s frustrating,” Pedroia said. “You just got to keep trying to put good at-bats together. We got to do it collectively as a team and we’re not doing that.”
The Red Sox (49-50) fell below .500 after losing for the fifth time in six games. Their only win in that stretch was 2-1 Tuesday night after Rangers All-Star closer Joe Nathan had consecutive two-out walks and gave up a run in the ninth.
Beckett has won only once in nine starts since May 20 after allowing nine hits with two walks in his seven innings. The right-hander never appeared in the clubhouse when it was open to reporters after the game.
“He was great, I thought he was awesome. The balls we hit, they caught and the balls they hit just fell in,” Pedroia said. “Josh is out there pitching his butt off. It’s tough (to allow a run on a wild pitch). It kind of cut and at the last second got by (catcher Kelly Shoppach).”
Holland, meanwhile, is intent on making up for the time he missed on the mound. The left-hander made his fourth start since coming off the disabled list. He missed a month because of shoulder fatigue brought on when he lost about 15 pounds when he had a stomach virus.
“I’m trying to do everything I can to step up and get those innings back, that I had lost in the month off,” said Holland, who struck out seven.
Andrus was hit on the left forearm by a pitch with one out in the seventh. He got to third on a single by Adrian Beltre and scored to break a 3-all tie on Beckett’s wild pitch.
Beltre was back in the lineup a day after being hit by a pitch thrown by Vicente Padilla that knocked off his helmet and sent him to the ground. Beltre, who insisted again before Wednesday’s game that he didn’t think that 0-2 pitch was purposely thrown at him, had a bruise but no concussion.
In what may have been a bit of retaliation with two outs in the first, Red Sox cleanup hitter Adrian Gonzalez was hit in the buttocks by a pitch. Home plate umpire Tim Tschida, the crew chief, pointed Gonzalez to first base and didn’t issue any warnings.
There were no further issues, and it was clear by Beckett’s reaction when he hit Andrus that it was just a pitch that got away.
Nathan worked a perfect ninth for his 20th save in 21 chances.
Jacoby Ellsbury drew a walk to start the game and eventually scored when Pedroia grounded into a double play. Middlebrooks hit his 12th homer in the fourth, and Pedroia went deep in the sixth.
The Rangers scored three times in the fourth. David Muprhy had an RBI single and scored on Craig Gentry’s perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt to tie the game at 2. Ian Kinsler followed with an RBI bloop single that dropped after glancing off the heel of sliding right fielder Cody Ross’ glove.