Red Sox Falter In 9th, Lose 4-3 To Drop Series At Texas
Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell was taking no chances with Prince Fielder, intentionally walking the AL batting leader and potential winning run even though the Rangers still had Josh Hamilton available off the bench.
Fielder was then doing a belly-flop onto home plate, scoring on Hamilton's pinch-hit, two-run double with two outs in the ninth to give Texas a 4-3 win over the struggling Red Sox.
"We'll take the chance of a guy coming off the bench versus a guy that's in the game and in the rhythm of the game probably more times than not, especially a guy as hot as Prince has been and what he's meant to that offense all year," manager John Farrell said "We're one pitch away from sealing a win. Tough way to lose one."
The Red Sox lost for the sixth time to wrap up a seven-game trip, the latest loss coming only hours after Farrell's pregame meeting with a group of five veteran players about the team playing more smart and aggressive.
Boston didn't trail until Hamilton, wrapping up his first week back with the Rangers in the first game he didn't start, lined a 1-1 splitter from Koji Uehara (2-2) into the left-center field gap.
"It feels like old times," said Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP who rejoined the team Monday in Cleveland. "It really does. It's a lot of fun. Coming back home and having some good games against Boston and then having a game like today reminds you of some good times for the Rangers."
Texas got started in the ninth when rookie Hanser Alberto reached on third baseman Pablo Sandoval's second error of the game. Delino DeShields then a sacrifice bunt and Shin-Soo Choo grounded out before Fielder, batting .359 and already with a hit, came to the plate.
Hamilton pinch-hit for Adam Rosales, who had earlier replaced Adrian Beltre after the third baseman sprained and cut his left thumb sliding in the fifth inning. Beltre is out at least two weeks.
The Rangers won their fourth consecutive series, but first at home this season. They won three in a row against Boston after losing the opener 5-1 in Hamilton's first home game for the Rangers since 2012.
Uehara thought he threw a good pitch to Hamilton, who appeared to reach out to hit the pitch to the opposite field.
"I put extra pressure on myself to get out of that inning," Uehara said through an interpreter, referring to the error. "I wanted to have my teammates back. I wasn't able to. It was my responsibility."
Ross Ohlendorf (1-0), the fifth Texas pitcher, threw a scoreless ninth when the Red Sox left a runner stranded at third base.
Boston led 3-2 in the sixth when Xander Bogaerts had an RBI single off Rangers starter Wandy Rodriguez. Hanley Ramirez had an RBI single in the first, and Sandoval singled in the second and scored on third baseman Beltre's two-out fielding error.
Rusney Castillo, who was eventually stranded at third base, had a leadoff single in the ninth for Boston and appeared to be on at second base on a stolen base before umpire Todd Tichenor ruled that the runner had been pushed off the bag by shortstop Elvis Andrus' tag.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister came out to discuss the non-reviewable play, and was ejected after the conversation got heated. Replays showed that Castillo's momentum took him past the base.
"I've played baseball a long time. It's part of the game." Pedroia said. "I don't believe it all comes down to the end. We take care of that stuff before the end to win."