04/22/10 12:58 AM ET
Rangers battle, suffer sixth consecutive loss
Nippert serves up walk-off double to Youkilis in 12th inning
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
"Real tough," manager Ron Washington said after the Rangers' losing streak went to six with an 8-7 loss in 12 innings to the Red Sox on Wednesday night.
"The guys battled their tails out there tonight," Washington said. "It was a tough way to lose."
Yet Texas did just that. Kevin Youkilis, with two on and two outs in the 12th, hit one off the Green Monster in deep left-center off reliever Dustin Nippert to give the Red Sox their second consecutive walk-off victory and leave the Rangers 5-9 on the season.
The Rangers still tried to muster positives after this one, even though it marked the fifth time this season they've lost in the opponent's final at-bat.
"I thought we actually played well tonight until the last moment, when we got stuck with the 'L,'" third baseman Michael Young said. "It was a fun game to be a part of. Both teams emptied their tanks. Both teams got after it. It was fun, [but] it just would have been fun to wrap that one up."
This is also the first time the Rangers have been victims of back-to-back walk-off losses since 2002.
"They're busting their tails," Washington said. "If we keep battling, we'll get this right. If we keep playing baseball like we have the last two days, we're going to come out of this."
The Rangers led, 4-0, early before the Red Sox rallied to take the lead against Matt Harrison, who was apparently stricken with the stomach flu at some point during the game. Harrison gave up a home run to Mike Lowell in the second, a grand slam to J.D. Drew in the third and another home run to Darnell McDonald in the fourth.
Texas trailed, 7-4, going into the seventh when Josh Hamilton hit a three-run home run off Josh Beckett to tie the score. It was Hamilton's first home run of the season, but the Rangers would come up with just one more hit the rest of the game, a single by Hamilton to lead off the 10th.
"If we were playing really bad, this would be a lot worse," Hamilton said. "But we're playing good enough to win. We're just not getting the breaks or calls. There are some things we can do better, but ... it's going to happen."
The call the Rangers wanted but didn't get came in the fourth inning, when Julio Borbon was thrown out by McDonald trying to score on Young's short fly to center field. Borbon thought he got his hand in between catcher Jason Varitek's legs, but home-plate umpire Brian O'Nora ruled otherwise.
"I felt I was in there," Borbon said. "I slid in [headfirst], got my hand in there and then he kicked my arm out."
O'Nora ruled that Borbon never touched the plate, and Borbon said he didn't need to see a replay to know he was safe.
"When you slide in headfirst, I don't think anybody has a better view," Borbon said.
Borbon, who had three hits, was also involved in a pivotal play in the bottom of the 12th, when the Red Sox finally emerged victorious in a battle of the bullpens. Rangers relievers had retired 18 in a row before Marco Scutaro, with one out, singled through the left-side hole.
Drew followed with a fly ball into the left-center alley. Borbon got there in plenty of time to make the play, but Scutaro, even though the ball wasn't hit that deep, tagged up and made a dash for second. He surprised Borbon in doing so and slid in safely.
"I wasn't in a good position to make the throw," Borbon said. "He caught me off-guard. That's on me. The throw wasn't all that bad, but if I was able to get behind it, he would have been out or it would have been closer."
Said Scutaro, "I'm just trying to make something happen. As soon as I see J.D. hit the ball, I knew the ball wasn't gone, but was kind of deep enough to try to take an extra base. It was one of those plays where it's do or die. You're trying to make something happen."
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was up next, but he was previously 5-for-11 off Nippert and the Rangers decided to walk him intentionally.
"I've seen that little guy at second [hit] too many off that wall," Washington said.
The Rangers preferred to face Youkilis, who was 0-for-5 previously against Nippert. But Nippert fell behind, 3-0, in the count. Youkilis took one strike, fouled off another and then smoked a curveball off the left-field wall to win it.
And in the process, extend the Rangers' losing streak to six games.
"It's frustrating, but we're playing good enough to win," Hamilton said. "We just haven't got the breaks. We've also made some mistakes. It's a combination of a lot of things. We'll figure it out."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.