ARLINGTON, Texas — Adrian Beltre’s single to right field scored Elvis Andrus in the bottom of the ninth for a 4-3 victory to complete the Texas Rangers’ sweep of the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.
Andrus knocked a single to center field and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Boston put Lance Berkman on first with an intentional walk to get to Beltre with two out. Beltre sent a 1-2 pitch to right and Andrus scored easily from second.
Boston had its opportunity in the top half of the ninth against Joe Nathan. Nathan walked David Ross and gave up a single to Stephen Drew to give the Red Sox two on with just one out. However, Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out, and Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out to first to end the threat.
Yu Darvish completed his fourth double-digit strikeout effort of the season with 14 in a no-decision. Striking out as many as four consecutive in the fourth and fifth, the right-hander retired at least two by way of the strike out in six of his seven innings pitched.
The 14 fanned by Darvish equaled his career best, which came in his first start of the season against the Astros in a near perfect game. He became the first pitcher since 2000 to have two 14 strikeout games in the same season.
The runs against Darvish came by the way of his second career game with two home runs allowed. Darvish finished with 128 pitches thrown, a new season-high.
David Ortiz wasted little time putting runs on the board in the first. Following a single by Dustin Pedroia, Ortiz sent a hanging curve ball deep to right field for his fourth home run of the season and extended his MLB-best hitting streak to 25 games dating to July 2012.
Boston’s Ross came up with the bases empty in the second and took a curveball down the line into the seats in left for a 3-0 edge.
Boston starter Jon Lester was equal to Darvish in limiting offense, also allowing a pair of home runs.
With runners in scoring position and less than two outs in the fourth and fifth, Lester came up with big pitches. Lester struck out A.J. Pierzynski looking in the fourth with a fastball on the outside corner and then had back-to-back strikeouts in the fifth to end the threats.
Texas cut into the lead with a solo shot in the third. Mitch Moreland barely cleared the left field wall to sneak the ball inside the foul pole for his fourth of the season.
Nelson Cruz tied the game at three in the fifth with Adrian Beltre on first. Cruz sent a 3-2 pitch with one out to center field for his seventh home run of the season.
On Saturday night, the bottom third of the Rangers’ batting order proved to be the difference in a 5-1 win over the Red Sox.
An improbable combination in the lineup due to a late scratch of left fielder David Murphy gave Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin an opportunity to complement each other’s speed.
Gentry pushed four runs across the plate on three RBI and Martin came up with key defensive plays late in the game to hold back the Boston offense. The bottom three of the Texas batting order was 5-for-10, with a pair of hits coming from Gentry and Mitch Moreland.
“Speed kills,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “Gentry had a couple of big at-bats tonight, and his (eighth-inning) home run gave us some insurance runs that we needed. It all comes down to us putting some runs on the board.”
Washington said he wouldn’t be opposed to using the tandem of Gentry and Martin again in the future but that Murphy would continue to be his regular starter in left despite his recent struggles at the plate.
In the key fourth inning, two walks and a single by A.J. Pierzynski brought Gentry to the plate, and he broke a 1-1 tie by beating out the throw for an infield single. With the ball bouncing away from first baseman Mike Napoli on a bad throw by third baseman Will Middlebrooks, two Texas runners came in to score.
NOTES: Texas travels to face the Chicago Cubs on Monday in a makeup game of April 14th’s rain out. The Rangers begin a four-city, 10-day road trip with nine games.