Clay Buchholz pounced on the bunt near the first-base line, yet all the Boston starting pitcher could do was watch one Texas runner slide across home plate while another ran safely to first.
The flu-ridden Rangers used that squeeze bunt by rookie Elvis Andrus, a home run by Ian Kinsler and a solid spot start by Dustin Nippert to beat Boston 3-1 on Wednesday night and complete a three-game sweep of the slumping Red Sox.
"If that was directly to the pitcher, he might have had a shot," said David Murphy, who was running from third when Buchholz released the pitch. "It was just great placement by Elvis, and I scored easily."
Boston has lost a season-worst five in a row and dropped two games back in the AL East to the New York Yankees, who have won six straight. The Red Sox had led the division since June 9 until the losing streak in which they have scored only nine times.
"Unfortunately, from where we stand, it was the same story of the last few days," manager Terry Francona said. "We're just collectively not putting any runs on the board."
The Red Sox are hitting a majors-worst .192 in six games since the All-Star break.
Nick Green snapped a 1-for-17 slide with a solo homer in the third to put Boston up 1-0, but that's all they got.
"That's a hard way to win," Francona quipped.
Kinsler led off the bottom of the third with his 23rd homer. An inning later, Taylor Teagarden drove in the tiebreaking run with an infield chopper right before the squeeze play.
Nippert (2-0) threw 94 pitches over 5 2-3 innings in a spot start for flu-ridden Vicente Padilla with five strikeouts and two walks.
"Nippert gave us way more than we expected," manager Ron Washington said.
After Nippert struck out J.D. Drew for the second out of the sixth, Doug Mathis took over and went the rest of the way for his first career save.
Buchholz allowed three runs and six hits over four innings in place of All-Star knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who was put on the disabled list Tuesday with a lower back problem.
The Red Sox made two trades Wednesday, getting first baseman Adam LaRoche from Pittsburgh for two minor leaguers and outfielder Chris Duncan from St. Louis for shortstop Julio Lugo, who had been designated for assignment Friday.
LaRoche will join Boston at home Friday after the team's much-needed day off. Duncan went to Triple-A Pawtucket.
This program aired on July 23, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.