ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Nomar Mazara is cleaning up nicely for the Texas Rangers in the lineup spot usually occupied by Adrian Beltre, baseball’s active career hits leader.
Mazara drove in five runs while homering in his third straight game and the Rangers beat the Boston Red Sox 11-5 on Thursday night, handing former AL Cy Young Award winner David Price his third loss in a row.
“Obviously when he comes back, that’s going to be his spot again,” said Mazara, the primary cleanup hitter with Beltre out since April 25 because of a strained left hamstring. “I don’t really care what I’m hitting. … I’m just going to stick to my plan, go up there and look for a pitch I can hit hard.”
Mazara had a two-run double off Price (2-4) in the third, and an inning later hit a towering three-run homer as the first batter after the Red Sox lefty was pulled from the game. Mazara’s sixth homer gave Texas a 10-3 lead.
“He is by far one of the better young hitters in my opinion in this game, how he continues to grow,” Banister said of the 23-year-old slugger. “The spot doesn’t seem to bother him.”
Mookie Betts homered again for Boston, his MLB-leading 12th homer in the third coming a day after he went deep three times at Fenway Park against Kansas City. Betts also had a two-run double and a sacrifice fly as the Red Sox opened an 11-day, 10-game trip.
“I mean, at least we can talk about that,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Betts. “He just keeps rolling. He’s fun to watch.”
Texas scored at least 10 runs for the first time this season. The 11 are the most allowed by the Red Sox, whose 22-9 record is still the best in the majors.
Mike Minor (3-1), a full-time reliever for the Royals last year after missing two full seasons with shoulder issues, worked six innings. The right-hander struck out four, walked three and allowed three runs.
Price allowed nine runs, his most since 2013 with Tampa Bay. He has been scored on 19 times (16 earned runs) over 17 innings during his three-game losing streak.
“It seems like there’s no separation in his pitches right now,” Cora said. “And that’s not him, as far as command issues. If he gets hit, he gets hit. But an 0-2 fastball to Mazara, up in the zone, he goes the other way.”
The last batter Price faced was rookie Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who came back from a 1-2 count to draw a bases-loaded walk . Hector Velazquez, the reliever, immediately threw a wild pitch to allow a run before Mazara homered.
Price said he feels fine physical and felt he had one of his better changeups this season.
“Just command of my cutter to my glove side wasn’t really there,” Price said. “I didn’t command the baseball very well.”
Red Sox 2B Eduardo Nunez was initially called out when sliding headfirst into second base in the fourth. Boston challenged the call, which was overturned on the replay that showed Nunez pulled his right arm away to avoid the tag while reaching around with his left arm to grab the bag. Nunez eventually scored on Betts’ sac fly.
Carlos Perez was added to the Rangers roster a day after the catcher was received on a waiver clam from Atlanta. Juan Centeno, the catcher who hit .162 in his 10 games, was designated for assignment.
Red Sox: Cora said lefty Eduardo Rodriguez “most likely” will be back to make his scheduled start Saturday. Rodriguez was placed on the family medical leave list Wednesday. … INF Brock Holt (left hamstring) is set for early BP on Friday. He could then be ready for some at-bats in rehab games.
Rangers: Beltre, with 3,075 hits and Ichiro Suzuki no longer on Seattle’s roster, and 2B Rougned Odor both took groundballs and BP before Thursday’s game. Odor also has a left hamstring strain. “Beltre, he is progressing,” Banister said. “For him to go out and do some light jogging, and groundballs and taking BP on the field, that’s a good sign.”
In the second game of a four-game series, Boston right-hander Rick Porcello tries to start 5-0 for the second time in three seasons. Bartolo Colon (1-0), the 44-year-old right-hander for Texas, goes for his 242nd career win. Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal’s 243 wins are the most for a player born in the Dominican Republic.