BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox had the Texas Rangers’ outfielders chasing balls all around Fenway Park. The problem was they were catching them.
The Red Sox stranded 12 baserunners, including leaving the bases full in the sixth and two on twice in the final three innings in a 2-1 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday night.
“You can’t control where balls go,” Boston first baseman Mike Napoli said. “We hit some balls hard and guys made plays on them.”
Xander Bogaerts lined to center fielder Leonys Martin, who came charging in to end the sixth. Left fielder Delino DeShields made a nice over the shoulder grab on Dustin Pedroia with the potential tying run on second in the ninth.
“It’s a tough one,” Boston’s Mookie Betts said. “We hit some balls hard, right at them. That’s the nature of the game.”
Joe Kelly (1-3) gave up two runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts and one walk in seven innings as the Red Sox (19-21) failed in their fourth attempt to reach .500 since they were 12-12.
Phil Klein allowed one run in his first major league start and Robinson Chirinos hit a solo homer for the Rangers.
“There were a number of times where guys squared the ball up and you’d see either someone running in the gap or someone was standing right there,” Boston manager John Farrell said.
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Elvis Andrus. They made it 2-0 in the third when Chirinos hit his fourth homer of the season.
Klein, called up Wednesday from Triple-A Round Rock, allowed four hits through four scoreless innings before giving up a leadoff homer to Bogaerts, his second of the year, in the fifth.
Texas won for only the second time in six games and split the first two games of the three-game series.
Klein (1-0), who has 23 relief appearances in his career, left with runners at first and second and one out in the sixth.
Shawn Tolleson got his first career save in 123 relief appearances after escaping a first-and-second jam in the ninth.
Klein’s first pitch of the game sailed wide and got by catcher Chirinos. But he retired 11 of Boston’s first 13 batters, allowing singles to Napoli in the second and Blake Swihart in the third.
There was a weird play in the seventh when Martin hit a fly ball off the Green Monster. LF Hanley Ramirez fielded the ball and when he went to throw it SS Bogaerts was standing a few feet in front of him. The ball slipped out of Ramirez’s hand and CF Betts, backing up, picked it up and fired to third too late to get Martin. Ramirez was charged with an error allowing Martin to advance after a double.
“I just turned around and saw a ball and picked it up,” Betts said.
Rangers: OF Josh Hamilton went 1 for 4 Wednesday on his rehab assignment with a homer and three RBIs for Double-A Frisco in an 8-1 win over Midland. On Tuesday night, he went 3 for 3 with three RBIs for Frisco. Hamilton is not expected to join the Rangers before a three-game series starting Monday night in Cleveland.
Red Sox: 3B Pablo Sandoval missed Wednesday night’s game with a sore left knee after being hit by a pitch in the seventh inning of Boston’s 4-3 win Tuesday night. “He’s day to day,” Farrell said. “We’ll keep him off his feet and he’ll continue to get treatment throughout the game.”
Rangers: LHP Wandy Rodriguez (1-2) makes his fourth start on the road Thursday night in the finale of the three-game series. His 1.42 road ERA is the second-lowest in the AL for pitchers with at least three starts away from home. His last outing was at home Friday night when he gave up five runs in 4 2-3 innings in an 8-3 loss to Cleveland.
Red Sox: Clay Buchholz (2-4) faces the Rangers after his longest outing of the season. He allowed one run and three hits in eight innings Friday night in a 2-1 win at Seattle but was not involved in the decision. He has a 4.93 ERA despite allowing three runs or fewer in five of his eight starts.