Red Sox beat up Rangers

Boston Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro (10) hits an RBI single in front of Texas Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba during the second inning of the baseball game in Arlington, Texas, Tuesday night, Aug. 23, 2011.
LM Otero/AP
Boston Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro (10) hits an RBI single in front of Texas Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba during the second inning of the baseball game in Arlington, Texas, Tuesday night, Aug. 23, 2011.
Posted Aug. 23, 2011, at 11:30 p.m.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Adrian Gonzalez homered twice, Jacoby Ellsbury made an immediate impact in his return to the lineup and the Boston Red Sox finally won a game in Texas with an 11-5 victory Tuesday night.

Ellsbury led off the game with a single, stole second base and scored on the first homer by Gonzalez, putting the Red Sox ahead to stay. The All-Star center fielder had missed three straight games after getting hit in the back with a pitch.

Boston (78-50), which had lost its first four games at Rangers Ballpark this season, moved within two percentage points of first-place New York in the AL East. The Yankees lost to Oakland.

Texas native John Lackey (12-9) pitched 6 2-3 innings for his seventh win in his last eight starts.

Colby Lewis (11-9) allowed seven runs and nine hits over six innings, including both homers to Gonzalez.

Gonzalez hit a 402-foot drive to left-center in the fourth, the solo shot putting the Red Sox up 7-3. It was his 20th homer of the season, and his 12th career multihomer game.

Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler had solo homers for the AL West-leading Rangers, who lost for the fourth time in six games.

Texas won the series opener of the potential playoff preview 4-0 when the Red Sox were limited to four singles Monday night.

Boston, which finished with 14 hits Tuesday, had already matched its hits total from the opener when Jed Lowrie and Carl Crawford had consecutive singles to start the second. Jarrod Saltalamacchia had an RBI double and Marco Scutaro a sacrifice fly in the inning for a 4-0 lead.

The Red Sox scored two more runs in the third — in a similar fashion though a different order. Josh Reddick and Lowrie had consecutive one-out singles before Crawford had a sacrifice fly and Ryan Lavarnway a run-scoring double.

Scutaro and Dustin Pedroia added two-run doubles off the left-field wall in the eighth against reliever Mark Lowe. Scutaro’s ball ricocheted off the very top of the 14-foot wall and umpires looked at replays to confirm their ruling of the ball being in play after Red Sox manager Terry Francona questioned the call.

Lackey has never particularly enjoyed pitching on the road against the Rangers. He entered with a 6-6 record and a 6.78 ERA in 17 career starts at Texas. That included nine runs in 3 2-3 innings in the season-opening series, when the Red Sox were swept in three games on the way to an 0-6 start.

This time, the big righthander allowed four runs and seven hits with four strikeouts. He also made a nifty play to start an inning-ending double play in the sixth.

Lackey fell down in front of the mound after grabbing Yorvit Torrealba’s comebacker. From his knee, Lackey turned and threw to second baseman Pedroia. He emphatically pumped his fist when the double play was completed.

After three consecutive singles to start the Texas fourth, Elvis Andrus drew a bases-loaded walk before Hamilton and Michael Young had consecutive sacrifice flies.

Hamilton hit his 17th homer in the fifth, and Kinsler his 21st in the ninth.

NOTES: Lewis has given up an AL-high 30 homers. … The Red Sox have hit a major league-leading 86 homers on the road. … Texas still has the best home record in the AL at 40-24. … In the fifth before his home run, Hamilton also had a highlight defensive play. Hamilton made a sliding catch on the gravel in foul territory down the left-field line on Reddick’s foul pop. … Also in the fifth, Ellsbury reached with full extension on a sprint to catch Kinsler’s fly in the left-center gap. … Matt Harrison pitches for Texas and Josh Beckett starts for Boston in a matchup of 10-game winners Wednesday.

Royals, 6, Blue Jays 4

TORONTO — Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler homered for Kansas City and Bruce Chen won four consecutive starts for the first time in his career.

Jeff Francoeur matched his career high with four hits as the Royals, who had lost six of seven away from home, opened a 10-game, 10-day road trip.

Chen (9-5) improved to 4-1 with a 3.68 ERA in five August starts. The left-hander allowed three runs and four hits in 7 2-3 innings. He walked one and tied a career best nine strikeouts.

Joakim Soria gave up an RBI single to Adam Lind in the ninth but finished for his 23rd save.

Kansas City came in having lost seven of nine overall and 21 of its previous 28 in Toronto but the Royals jumped on Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow with a three-run, four-hit second.

Athletics 6, Yankees 5

NEW YORK — Brandon Allen hit two tape-measure homers, Eric Sogard connected for one that barely cleared the wall and the Oakland Athletics hung on to beat the New York Yankees 6-5 on Tuesday night.

Brandon McCarthy ran the A’s stretch of superb pitching into the eighth before allowing a two-out, three-run homer to Nick Swisher that lifted a quiet crowd. The three runs were one more than Oakland had given up in the previous three games combined.

The Yankees, who trailed 6-0 in the seventh, rallied for two runs in the ninth against closer Andrew Bailey, before Swisher flied out to the wall in right-center with the bases loaded to end it for his 17th save.

Scott Sizmore doubled in two runs on the first pitch he saw as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning and Josh Willingham had a sacrifice fly in the sixth for Oakland.

McCarthy (7-6) gave up eight hits and struck out six in 7 2-3 innings, improving to 6-1 in eight starts since the All-Star break.

Bailey gave up a homer to Jorge Posada to open the ninth and Russell Martin doubled. Brett Gardner reached on an error by Sizemore at third base and Curtis Granderson walked to load the bases after Derek Jeter sacrificed the runners over. An out later, Robinson Cano walked on what appeared to be strike 3 to make it 6-5.

Swisher then sent a drive that Coco Crisp caught just in front of the wall to give Bailey his ninth save in nine chances since the All-Star break.

Jeter had three hits, tying Rod Carew for 22nd place all-time with 3,053. But McCarthy stifled the rest of a New York lineup that was again missing Alex Rodriguez.

A-Rod returned from knee surgery for his first game since July 7 on Sunday and sprained his thumb fielding a ball against the Twins. X-rays Tuesday were negative and he is day to day.

Engineers gave Yankee Stadium a clean bill of health after an earthquake in Virginia shook much of the East Coast, and 47,343 fans saw the A’s improve to 2-6 against New York this season.

The A’s came in having hit 81 home runs, tied for second-fewest in the American League, but they did most of their damage with the long ball Tuesday.

With one out in the second inning, Allen crushed a drive off Bartolo Colon (8-8) into the third deck, only the second ball to reach that height at the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009. Seattle’s Russell Branyan did it in August last year.

In the eighth, Allen hit a line shot off Hector Noesi into the second deck in right after striking in his two previous at-bats.

It was Allen’s first two homers with the A’s and first multihomer game of his career. Three of his five hits with Arizona were home runs before he was sent to Oakland in a July 31 trade.

Sogard connected in the third for the type of drive that frustrates many opposing teams in the Bronx, a flyball that barely cleared the wall in right, 314 feet from home plate. It was his first big league homer.

Colon gave up five runs for the second straight start. He got the loss in Kansas City on Wednesday and has not won since July 30, a span of four starts.

NOTES: Starting with July 9, the day he reached 3,000 hits, Jeter is batting .367 (55 for 150). … The A’s traded 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff and cash to Colorado for a player or cash. Kouzmanoff, who has 82 homers and 345 RBIs in six big league seasons, was playing with Triple-A Sacramento since being demoted June 6. He was hitting .221 with four homers and 17 RBIs with Oakland in 46 games. Wh en asked about the move, manager Bob Melvin said he hadn’t heard the news. … CC Sabathia (17-7) faces Trevor Cahill (9-12) Wednesday. With a win Sabathia would become the fifth Yankees pitcher to win 18 games in three or more consecutive seasons and first since Vic Raschi did it in four straight from 1948-51. He will also be the first pitcher to do it in his first three seasons with the cl ub since Jack Chesboro in 1903-06, the franchise’s first four seasons in New York.

Braves 5, Cubs 4

CHICAGO — Craig Kimbrel tied a major league rookie record with his 40th save, Jason Heyward hit his first career grand slam, and the Atlanta Braves hung on to win their sixth straight, beating the Chicago Cubs 5-4 on Tuesday night.

Kimbrel worked the ninth for his 40th save in 45 opportunities, tying a mark set by Texas’ Neftali Feliz last season. He ran his scoreless streak to 31 2-3 innings as Atlanta won for the eighth time in nine games.

Aramis Ramirez singled with two outs in the ninth for the Cubs, giving him a career-high five hits while extending his hitting streak to 12 games. He advanced to second when Heyward bobbled the ball in right. Tyler Colvin struck out to end the game.

Chipper Jones had three hits. So did Heyward, none bigger than his shot in the fourth. He connected after Alex Gonzalez drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk off Casey Coleman (2-6), making it 5-0, but Mike Minor (4-2) nearly gave it all away.

Alfonso Soriano led off a four-run fifth with his 21st homer.

Ramirez drove a two-run double with two outs in the fifth and came around when Gonzalez bounced the throw to first after fielding Jeff Baker’s grounder to short, making it 5-4. Carlos Pena hit an inning-ending fly ball to the wall in center, barely preserving the lead.

Things got really tense in the seventh when the Cubs loaded the bases, but Chicago came away empty-handed. Arodys Vizcaino came in and retired Marlon Byrd on an inning-ending grounder to second on the first pitch.

Minor won his third straight start and beat the Cubs for the second time in that span, giving up four runs and six hits over five innings.

Coleman also went five innings, allowing five runs and five hits in his second start for the banished Carlos Zambrano.

He ran into trouble with two outs in the fourth when Dan Uggla singled on a slow roller toward the left side that Ramirez tried to barehand. Jones lined a base hit to right before Eric Hinske walked to load the bases. Coleman’s 3-2 pitch to Gonzalez just missed low and away, driving in the first run, and Heyward made it a five-run game when he knocked his 13th homer to the basket above t he wall in left-center. The grand slam was the third for Atlanta this season.

All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro was back in the lineup for Chicago after sitting out a game because he wasn’t paying attention in the field. He appeared to be engaged this time, making a diving stop in the eighth on Gonzalez’s grounder to start a double play, and also had a single.

Notes: Coming off one of his better starts, Derek Lowe is back on the mound as the Braves continue the series with the Cubs. The veteran right-hander threw five-plus scoreless innings in a win against Arizona. Randy Wells starts for Chicago. … OF Jose Constanza was held out of the starting lineup after rolling his right ankle while beating out an infield hit in Monday’s game. Braves m anager Fredi Gonzalez hopes he returns to the lineup on Wednesday. … Braves RHP Tommy Hanson did not throw a scheduled bullpen session on Tuesday because of soreness related to the right rotator cuff tendinitis that’s had him on the disabled list since Aug. 7. The soreness arose after Hanson threw nine pitches during an abbreviated throwing session on Monday. The Braves had hoped Hanson wo uld be able to make a rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday, but those plans have been scuttled.

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