BOSTON — After his team played an entire season series with the Texas Rangers with none of the games decided by fewer than four runs, Red Sox manager Terry Francona pointed to the hitting of the two clubs as the main reason.
“When you get to the bullpen before you want to, both teams have such good offenses and you make a mistake and you spread it out,” Francona said after the Red Sox lost 11-4 to AL West-leading Texas on Sunday.
“We haven’t played that many close games,” he said. “You get to the bullpen in the fourth or fifth and both teams have been able to spread those games out.”
The Red Sox lost six of their 10 games against the Rangers, a potential postseason opponent, and yielded 65 runs in the season series — 51 of them in the six losses.
Boston starter John Lackey pitched into the sixth inning Sunday and left with the Red Sox trailing 3-0. Young left-hander Felix Doubront then allowed three inherited runners to score, and the Rangers were well on their way to another rout.
Lackey fell to 12-11 with a 6.11 ERA on the season. He also dropped to 12-14 with a 6.16 ERA in 36 career starts against Texas.
“I don’t have a whole lot of tricks left (against them), no,” he said. “You try to change sequences. They’ve got a good lineup, man, they’re tough. They definitely worked me, got my pitch count up quite a bit there in the sixth inning. They got enough of hits to get me out of there and it just didn’t go real good after that.”
Josh Hamilton capped Texas’ seven-run sixth inning with a bases-loaded triple.
Ian Kinsler homered, drove in three runs and made a stellar defensive play for the Rangers, who took two of three in a weekend series that continued the trend of lopsided games between the teams this season.
Boston went 4-5 on its nine-game homestand and fell to 1½ games behind AL East-leading New York, which beat Toronto 9-3 on Sunday.
Marco Scutaro had a two-run single for the Red Sox.
The Rangers outscored the Red Sox 51-15 in games they won. Boston had a 42-14 edge in its victories.
Matt Harrison (11-9) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings in his first start since he struggled in a loss to the Red Sox on Aug. 24. Texas opted to skip his previous turn in the rotation and the left-hander pitched two scoreless innings in relief against Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
Texas won 10-0 in the series opener on Friday, and the Red Sox rebounded with a 12-7 victory Saturday.
The Rangers broke it open in the sixth, chasing Lackey while building a 9-0 lead. Michael Young had a leadoff single and Adrian Beltre singled for his 2,000th career hit. David Murphy followed with a run-scoring single and Lackey walked Mike Napoli, the last batter he faced.
Doubront relieved and Mitch Moreland snapped an 0-for-20 stretch with an RBI single before pinch-hitter Esteban German walked to force in a run. Kinsler added a sacrifice fly and Doubront reloaded the bases with a walk to set up Hamilton’s triple into the triangle in center field.
Doubront was charged with three runs and retired just one batter. Matt Albers finally got out of the inning thanks to a nice running catch by right fielder Darnell McDonald with two runners on.
Kinsler and Napoli homered off Michael Bowden in the ninth.
Lackey, who had won seven of his last 10 starts, allowed six runs and eight hits, walked three and hit a batter. Like a few other times this season, he left the mound to a spattering of boos.
Napoli singled in a run in the second and Kinsler added a run-scoring triple in the third, a drive to right-center that barely sailed over Conor Jackson’s outstretched glove just before he crashed into the wall at full speed. Lackey escaped further damage when he grabbed Elvis Andrus’ hard liner back to the mound and doubled off Kinsler.
Jackson, who was holding his left arm and flexing his right knee, left the game with a bruised right knee an inning later and was replaced by McDonald.
Kinsler’s splendid play likely saved a run in the fifth. He made a fully stretched dive to snag Jacoby Ellsbury’s liner in shallow center with a runner on second. Ellsbury threw his helmet to the ground in disbelief.
NOTES: It was Kinsler’s sixth homer against Boston this season, only the second Ranger to do it. Juan Gonzalez was the other in 1996. … Francona kept OF Josh Reddick out Sunday and will “hopefully get him back in (Monday).” Reddick was hit by a pitch on the left hand in Saturday’s win. … Rangers manager Ron Washington said he moved left-handed hitter Murphy up to sixth in the lineu p to “try and not string too many lefties together if I can.” He also planned to DH Beltre again on Monday with a day game at Tampa Bay. … The Rangers open a three-game series against the Rays on Monday, with RHP Scott Feldman (1-0) facing tough righty James Shields (13-10), who leads the majors with 10 complete games. … Boston travels to Toronto and opens a four-game series Monday aft ernoon against the Blue Jays, with Josh Beckett (12-5) scheduled to go against Henderson Alvarez (1-2). … Murphy’s second-inning triple extended his hitting streak to 10 games. … It was ‘Sign D ay’ at Fenway Park. Fans were encouraged to bring signs as part of a TV contest and there were many raised between innings.