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Mike Napoli found a flaw in his swing on the cross-country flight after his difficult road trip. Then he sent a liner soaring into the left-field seats.
Napoli watched video while flying from Seattle on Sunday and noticed something important.
"I wasn't getting into my load position," he said. "I'm not saying it's fixed or anything. I had a good night."
After going 4 for 27 on the trip, he went 2 for 4 with two RBIs to help the Boston Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 4-3 Tuesday night. David Ortiz also homered and drove in two runs, and Wade Miley (3-4) pitched seven solid innings after struggling much of the season.
Napoli's turnaround was the most impressive.
He began the game batting .162. But he gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead against Yovani Gallardo (3-6) with a leadoff homer in the fourth inning, his fourth of the year. Napoli then followed Ortiz's sixth homer in the fifth with an RBI single that made it 4-0.
"He's been able to identify something in his timing that seemed to play out tonight," Boston manager John Farrell said. "The home run to the pull side on the breaking ball, that's a pitch he's been missing."
Boston got a scare when Leonys Martin started the ninth with a pinch-hit homer off Koji Uehara, ending the closer's streak of eight hitless appearances. Uehara, however, held on for his 10th save in 11 opportunities.
The Red Sox got off to a strong start on their six-game homestand with one run and four hits in the first, while Miley held the Rangers scoreless through the fifth.
Boston took a 1-0 lead when Dustin Pedroia doubled and scored on a single by Ortiz. Singles by Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval loaded the bases, but all three runners were stranded.
Miley put runners in scoring position in five of his seven innings but allowed runs in just one of them. In his previous start, he pitched 6 2-3 scoreless innings.
"Getting into more of the rhythm, you create a little confidence with a good (game) then another good one," he said.
Trailing 4-0, the Rangers scored two in the sixth on a double by Kyle Banks, a run-scoring single by Thomas Field and an RBI triple by Robinson Chirinos.
But the Rangers never overcame the homers.
"The one to Ortiz was a pretty good pitch," Gallardo said, "but the other one to Napoli was right down the middle."
Pedroia reached base with a hit or walk for the 23rd straight game. ... Prince Fielder extended his hitting streak to eight games for Texas with a .433 batting average during that stretch. ... Ortiz has had two hits in each of his last three games.
Rangers: Josh Hamilton returned to action in his rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco when the Rough Riders faced Midland. Hamilton took Monday off after going 5 for 9 on Saturday and Sunday. He is expected to return to the Rangers during a three-game series in Cleveland starting Monday.
Red Sox: Sandoval left the game after being hit on the left knee by a 94 mph fastball in the seventh. He was sore, but Farrell said a scan ruled out structural damage. ... Ramirez remained in the game after sliding awkwardly into second base on a double in the fifth and jamming his left leg. Farrell and a trainer came out to talk with him while the safe call was being reviewed and confirmed. "It felt like it was a play that should have been overturned, but it doesn't matter," Texas manager Jeff Banister said.
Red Sox: After four consecutive starts in which he allowed at least five earned runs, Joe Kelly (1-2) will be coming off his second-best outing of the season Wednesday. He gave up one run in 6 1-3 innings but did not get a decision last Thursday in Boston's 2-1 win at Seattle.
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