For the first time this season, the Red Sox paid little heed to the "Don't mess with Texas" slogan.
The last time Boston and Texas squared off at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington at the start of May, Texas took the Sox to the cleaners, scoring 17 runs to Boston’s six over the course of the three-game set. It also kicked off a harrowing skid in which the Sox lost eight of 10 and fell out of first place in the American League East for a spell.
On Tuesday night, nearly one month to the day after Boston’s 7-0 loss to the Rangers in the opener of that series in the Lone Star State, the Sox served Texas its proverbial cold dish, plating 17 runs on 19 hits in a lopsided rout.
The highlights were served up Vin Diesel-style: Fast and Furious.
Jackie Bradley Jr. (3 RBI) recorded his first career home run in the bigs in the first inning, while Stephen Drew (4-for-5, 2 RBI), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (3-for-5, 2 RBI) and Mike Carp (3-for-4, 3 RBI) all added long balls to the cause. Drew and Daniel Nava (3-for-4, 1 RBI) each ripped a pair of doubles, while David Ortiz (2-for-6, 3 RBI), Jose Iglesias (2-for-5, 2 RBI), Saltalamacchia and Dustin Pedroia also notched doubles during the barrage.
If there was a harbinger of gaping floodgates, it was Ortiz legging out his first triple since 2011 in the bottom of the second inning. Not bad for a 37-year-old who missed the bulk of the back end of 2012 and all of spring training ’13 with an Achilles injury.
Big Papi barely had time to catch his breath: Mike Napoli stepped up to the dish next and on the first pitch he saw from embattled Rangers starter Justin Grimm drove a sacrifice fly to left and Ortiz tagged and raced home to score the seventh run of the night for Boston.
“We’re not going to confuse him for a base stealer,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “At the same time, it speaks volumes to the work that he’s done to get himself healthy. It also speaks loud of the attitude (with which) he goes about each and every game. He’s hustling right out of the box.”
“We’re not typically going to see (Ortiz) stretch a double into a triple like he did tonight,” Farrell continued. “But he’s playing with a lot of life, he’s playing with a lot of enthusiasm. That is the overriding attitude that’s in this group.”
Considering what transpired the last time these two AL-leading powerhouse teams tussled in Texas, it’s been a big attitude adjustment for the Sox.
The Sox, however, must keep in mind that while it was a big game, it was still only one game. Texas holds a hot hand against Boston, going 28-13 versus the Sox since 2009.
In 2012 the Rangers were 6-2 against the Sox, including an embarrassing 18-3 win over Boston at Fenway April 17.