By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ Boston Red Sox starter Felix Doubront seemingly had no problem getting the first two outs against the Texas Rangers.
The third out required in each inning proved a bit more elusive.
Doubront allowed a career-worst 12 hits in only 3 2-3 innings, nine of those hits coming with two outs, and the Red Sox lost 7-0 in their series opener against the Texas Rangers on Friday night.
“Overall, the lack of a finishing pitch,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “I think he had nine guys with two strikes and eight got on base. … It wasn’t as much finishing off an individual guy as it was finishing off an inning and it ran the pitch count up.”
Doubront (3-1) was done after 97 pitches, the last resulting in Adrian Beltre’s three-run double on a full-count pitch with two outs that made it 5-0.
“It was hard for me to put them away with two strikes” Doubront said.
The Red Sox (20-9) still have the best record in the majors, but were shut out for the third time this season. It was their 10th series opening game _ they had won eight of the first nine.
Mike Napoli, with a majors-best 22 extra-base hits and 31 RBIs in his first month with the Red Sox, was 0 for 4 in his first game back at Rangers Ballpark.
Napoli, who hit 54 home runs the last two seasons for the Rangers and made his only World Series appearance with them two years ago, was greeted with the old chants of “Nap-o-li!, Nap-oli!” when he batted for the first time. But the fans were cheering when the Red Sox first baseman then struck out.
“It was nice. I always loved playing here,” Napoli said of the response.
That was a much different reaction than five-time All-Star slugger Josh Hamilton got in his return with the Los Angeles Angels last month, when the 2010 AL MVP was booed throughout that weekend series.
Derek Holland (2-2) threw eight scoreless innings. He had a season-high nine strikeouts and allowed only six singles to win his fifth straight against the Red Sox.
“I had no clue,” Holland said of that streak. “That’s a great ball club over there. I’m not going to get caught up in that. They can strike back at any time. `’
The left-hander’s lone loss came as a rookie at Fenway Park in June 2009, his third career start. He’s 5-1 with a 2.41 ERA in six starts against the Red Sox.
After Holland threw 112 pitches, Derek Lowe worked a perfect ninth to wrap up the Rangers’ fifth shutout this season.
Doubront’s velocity was down, though he said he wasn’t worried.
“I know I’m down. I just have to keep working, playing catch, long toss. It’s not a concern now,” he said.
Farrell had a slightly different take.
“A little bit of a concern. Physically, he doesn’t express any restrictions, any tightness, any soreness,” Farrell said. “When he tries to get his better velocity, that’s where he starts to lose command. We have to go by that there’s no aches, stiffness or soreness.”
Beltre broke out of an extended slump with four hits. Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland both had three hits for the AL West-leading Rangers, who rebounded from their first series loss of the season and four losses in the previous five games with a season-high 18 hits. The entire team had only three hits against the Chicago White Sox the previous night.
“It’s nice to get involved with the other guys,” said Beltre, who had been 4 for 31 his previous eight games. “It’s nice to get into the groove a little bit and hopefully that’ll be the start of another streak.”
While his home run Thursday produced the only run in the Rangers’ 3-1 loss to the White Sox, Beltre grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the sixth, and struck out with two runners on two innings later.
“Beltre has got a track record, and the guys in my lineup have got a track record,” manager Ron Washington said. “Beltre is a run producer, there wasn’t anyone more upset about it than Beltre. But I’m happy that he said he’s not frustrated because when you get frustrated you go blind. And undoubtedly, tonight he wasn’t blind.”
NOTES: David Ortiz beat out an infield single leading off the second, extending his season-opening hitting streak to 11 games since coming off the disabled list for Boston. Ortiz has an overall hitting streak of 23 games dating to last season, the longest active streak in the majors. … Ortiz broke a nine-game streak of having an extra-base hit. .. Doubront has an ERA of 12.60 in his four career appearances at Rangers Ballpark.