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Sports

Ranger Bats Dominate Red Sox Again

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BOSTON (AP) _ Mike Napoli hit a two-run homer and drove in four
runs, Derek Holland pitched seven solid innings and the red-hot
Texas Rangers completed a two-game sweep with a 6-3 win over the
Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night.

Josh Hamilton had three singles and drove in a run for the
Rangers, who won their sixth straight.

It was Napoli’s fourth home run in three games to go along with
a two-run double. He hit a pair of homers in the Rangers’ lopsided
win Tuesday.

Kevin Youkilis had a two-run homer for the Red Sox, who dropped
their third consecutive game, and Josh Beckett (1-2) took the loss
despite holding the Rangers down one night after they hit six
homers in an 18-3 win.

Holland (2-0) held Boston to two runs on four hits, walking
three and fanning seven.
Boston has lost eight of its last 10 games at Fenway Park
against the Rangers.

The Red Sox have lost eight of their first 12 games this season
heading into their first matchup against the rival Yankees, who
come to town Friday for Fenway’s100th anniversary celebration.
Unlike Tuesday when the Rangers pounded Boston’s pitching en
route to the easy win, they relied on the formula that’s helped
them to the AL’s best record.

Texas, which improved to 10-2, once again got strong starting
pitching. The Rangers’ starters have opened the season 8-0 for the
first time in club history and posted a 1.84 ERA in their last
eight games, allowing three runs or fewer in the previous six.

Beckett allowed three runs on seven hits, striking out seven and
walking one. It was his second straight strong start, coming off an
eight-inning, one-run outing when he got the victory over Tampa Bay
in Boston’s home opener last Friday.

Pinch hitter Jarrod Saltamacchia lined into a game-ending double
play against Joe Nathan with runners on first and third.
Trailing 2-0 in the third, the Rangers cut the deficit in half
on Hamilton’s RBI single. Ian Kinsler walked with one out and
advanced to third on Elvis Andrus’ single, but Andrus was cut down
at second by left fielder Darnell McDonald. Hamilton then bounced
one up the middle that second baseman Dustin Pedroia made a diving
play on, but was unable to get a strong throw to first.

Texas jumped ahead 3-2 in the fourth when Napoli homered into
the Green Monster seats after David Murphy singled. Napoli later
doubled off the left-field wall, making it 6-2 in the eighth. The
catcher has gone 7 for 13 with nine RBIs in his last three games.
Boston had taken a 2-0 lead in the second when Youkilis homered
off the base of a light tower above the Monster.

Youkilis struck out in each of his four at-bats Tuesday, two
days after manager Bobby Valentine questioned his commitment to the
game in a taped TV appearance, then apologized the following
morning.
Hamilton is 11 for 18 with nine RBIs in his last four games.

NOTES: Rangers INF Michael Young was sidelined with a stiff
back. Manager Ron Washington said it was precautionary and he
should play Thursday when they face the Tigers in Detroit. Japanese
star Yu Darvish (1-0) is scheduled to face the Tigers’ Adam Wilk
(0-1). … The Red Sox are off Thursday. Clay Buchholz (1-0) is
slated to open the three-game series against the Yankees’ Ivan Nova
(2-0). … Hamilton had gone 50 at-bats without a walk this season
before he drew one against Matt Albers in the ninth. … Boston
sent struggling RH reliever Mark Melancon to Triple-A Pawtucket
before the game and recalled RHP Junichi Tazawa. … Valentine said
he thinks “it’s close” that RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka, recovering
from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last June, will make a
rehab start.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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