Rangers exact revenge with big victory
Seven-run second, shots by Cruz put it away against Red Sox
ARLINGTON -- Center fielder Josh Hamilton heard the chants for "Let's Go Red Sox" and found it hard to believe it was coming from the fans at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington."That's terrible," Hamilton said. "Where did they all come from?" They are in every American League ballpark. But the Rangers found a way to beat the Red Sox and put a muzzle on their fans that have infiltrated Arlington this weekend. The Rangers combined some disciplined patience early against knuckleballer Tim Wakefield with some old-fashioned muscle against the bullpen and pounded the Red Sox, 15-8, before 38,208 fans at the Ballpark on Saturday night. The Rangers' offense scored in double-digits for the 21st time this year, and the pitching of Matt Harrison allowed them to earn their first victory in nine games against the Red Sox this season. They had lost eight in 2008 and nine straight going back to last year. "We finally won one, huh?" Rangers manager Ron Washington said after Warner Madrigal put down the final Boston rally in the ninth inning and silenced those last desperate "Let's Go Red Sox" chants that were irritating Hamilton.
"Nah ... it's good," Hamilton said. "It doesn't matter, it really doesn't matter. Either way, you have to play. We've played good against them. Obviously, they've got a good club. More than likely, they're going to make the playoffs and go far in the playoffs, so it's always a good to finally beat a team like that."The Rangers scored seven runs in the second inning and Harrison, despite his own early troubles, held the Red Sox to four runs in six innings. Most of the cheering at the Ballpark was for the Rangers' offense, especially Hamilton and Nelson Cruz. Cruz drove in five runs with two home runs and a double. He had a two-run home run in the third, a solo shot in the fifth and a two-run double in the eighth. Those were his first two home runs at the Major League level since the night he was called up in Kansas City on Aug. 25. It's the third time he's hit two home runs in a Major League game. Hamilton had a two-run single in the second inning and drove in another run with a triple in the sixth. That gives him 124 RBIs on the season, the most in the Major Leagues and the eighth most in one season in club history. Gerald Laird had three hits and German Duran and Chris Davis each had two. Davis also took advantage of Wakefield's knuckleball to steal his first base as a Major Leaguer in the second inning. "This team in this ballpark, they'll knock you all over the field, which is what they did tonight," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. Wakefield was making his 500th career appearance and 363rd start for the Red Sox, but this one gave him little cause to celebrate or mark the occasion. Wakefield retired the first five batters he faced, but then couldn't get anybody out. Nine batters reached base with two outs in the second inning on four singles, four walks and one hit batter. "He had good stuff and good movement, he just couldn't get the ball over the plate," outfielder Brandon Boggs said. "It was moving a lot, we just laid off it." Wakefield walked two runs in during the inning and another run scored on a passed ball. He was pulled with two outs and it ended up being the second-shortest start of his career. "I felt great physically and great mentally," Wakefield said. "Everything just unfolded so fast. I tried to get a flyout or a groundout, but it just didn't happen." After the Rangers scored seven in the bottom of the inning, the Red Sox cut their lead in half when Kevin Youkilis lofted a fly ball into the right-center jetstream and ended up with a three-run home run. Harrison, who had a 6-4 lead turn into a 12-6 loss in his last start against the Mariners, simply responded to that by retiring eight straight hitters. "I said to myself, 'This is not going to happen again,'" Harrison said. "I said, 'I need to battle and go after them.' They definitely have a good lineup so you really have to mix it up. I was glad to get a win, because our guys really swung the bats well."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.