ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ Dustin Pedroia had his third straight hitless game and missed on a couple of chances to get the Boston offense going against Texas.
Not that he was too worried after Craig Gentry drove in three runs and Rangers pitching shut down the Red Sox again in a 5-1 victory on Saturday night.
“Calm the you know what down,” said Pedroia, whose is hitless in 14 at-bats after going 0 for 4 and stranding four runners, including the tying run at second in the seventh inning. “You’re going to go through stretches where one or two or three guys aren’t swinging the bat well. We’ll bounce back right out of it.”
Gentry put the Rangers ahead to stay with a two-out infield hit that produced two runs, his second RBI infield single in as many nights, and later added a two-run homer.
“It’s special when you have a guy that can run like that. There’s not too many guys that can run like him,” said Ian Kinsler, who homered on the first pitch thrown by Red Sox starter John Lackey.
The Rangers had the bases loaded with two outs in the fourth when Gentry hit a hard chopper. Third baseman Will Middlebrooks fielded the ball cleanly and made a strong throw that was a bit wide of first base, though Gentry clearly beat it. A second run scored on the throwing error when the ball got away from first baseman Mike Napoli for a 3-1 lead.
“Speed kills,” manager Ron Washington said.
“That’s not how you draw it up, but any way we can push some runs across,” Gentry said. “I always run hard and run it out, just in case. That’s my game. If I can beat something out, I’m going to try.”
Alexi Ogando (3-2) pitched into the seventh inning for his first victory in five starts and the AL West-leading Rangers (19-11) clinched the series against the Red Sox (20-10), who still have the best record in the majors even after losing the first two games.
Ogando struck out four and allowed one run in six-plus innings. The right-hander, who won his first two starts of the season before going 0-2 the last four, was gone after allowing a leadoff single to Middlebrooks in the seventh.
Lackey made his second start since coming off the disabled list because of a right biceps strain and winning in his return last Sunday. He hasn’t won consecutive starts since 2011, and has had plenty of struggles against the Rangers _ a 6.01 ERA in his 37 career starts against Texas, the most by any active pitcher.
“I’ve pretty much done everything in this place,” Lackey said. “I’ve pitched good here. I’ve been terrible here. And everything in between.”
The big right-hander, a Texas native, allowed three runs and six hits over five innings. He struck out four and walked three.
Gentry’s homer in the eight, his first of the season, came off former Rangers reliever Koji Uehara.
On Kinsler’s leadoff homer, left fielder Daniel Nava was a long way in front of the 14-foot wall when he stopped, held his hands out and seemed totally confused while looking up for the ball. It landed several rows deep in the stands, an estimated 402 feet from home plate.
“I knew I got that one,” said Kinsler, who extended his club record with his 28th career leadoff homer. “He actually made me think my bat was hollow for a second. … He looked like he was camped. For a millisecond there, he kind of got me.”
David Ortiz had a leadoff double in the second for the Red Sox, extending his majors-best hitting streak to 24 games, dating back to last season. He scored on a single by Nava to tie the game at 1.
Ortiz has hit in all 12 games he has played in this season since being activated from the disabled list, with an extra-base hit in 10 of his last 11 games.
The Red Sox had a chance for their first lead of the series with runners on first and second and one out in the third, but Pedroia struck out and Ortiz had a long flyout to left in a 1-all tie.
With Boston trailing 3-1 with two outs in the seventh, Pedroia grounded out to second with runners at second and third.
“We had a couple of chances” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “We fully expected this to be a well-pitched game and series against us.”
Texas loaded the bases in the fourth on two walks and a single by A.J. Pierzynski. Then came Gentry’s infield hit, similar to one the night before in a 7-0 victory, though Middlebrooks played it about as well as he could.
“A guy with speed like that, I need to go get that,” Middlebrooks said. “But at the same time, it’s going to be an in-between hop so I wanted to at least give myself a chance. I tried to get rid of it as quick as I could. Made a bad throw.”
Notes: Rangers closer Joe Nathan, the third Texas reliever, worked a perfect ninth in his first appearance in eight days. …. The Red Sox had won their first four road series this season. … Yu Darvish (5-1) starts the series finale for Texas, against left-hander Jon Lester (4-0). … Kinsler’s homer extended his hitting streak to 10 games, second-longest in the AL _ to Ortiz. . Red Sox RHP Craig Breslow threw a nine-pitch perfect inning for Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday and could be activated during a seven-game homestand that starts Monday. Breslow has been on the disabled list with left shoulder tendinitis since March 31.
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