Sale held the Rangers to one run over seven innings, as Texas lost three in a row in the four-game series at Globe Life Park with a 6-1 defeat. Sale allowed four hits, including a home run to Ryan Rua in the seventh, walked one and struck out a season-high 12.
"He's always tough," Rua said. "That's why he is one of the best pitchers in baseball. He mixes his pitches well, he's deceptive, throws hard and changes speeds. He is the total package."
Rangers hitters -- with 14 total on Sunday -- struck out 52 times in the four-game series and lead the AL with 356 on the season through 36 games. Texas manager Jeff Banister said it was a combination of the Red Sox pitchers and the young Rangers lineup getting on-the-job training.
"That is a quality starting staff," Banister said. "Obviously, look at their record, who they are, what they run out there. They got really good stuff and their bullpen is extremely tough. Listen, young or not, it is part of it. There is some youth on the field, but we've faced some quality pitchers along the way with the same set of guys on the field. It's part of the process. It's what we do have to do, get these guys up to speed at this level -- and it's a challenging level. There is no level of baseball better than this one."
The Rangers' lineup on Sunday included just two players with more than three years of service time: Shin-Soo Choo and Jurickson Profar. They have three of those on the DL in Beltre, Odor and Elvis Andrus.
"It is right now what we've got going on, and we've got to be better," Banister said. "As coaches, we got to be better at coaching these guys up and preparing them to be at these type of situations and go out and perform."
The Rangers' best threat against Sale came in the second when Nomar Mazara led off the inning getting hit by a pitch and Jurickson Profar singled through the right side. Sale struck out Renato Nunez and Rua, before Ronald Guzman reached on third baseman Rafael Devers' error to load the bases.
Carlos Perez followed with a line drive up the middle, but only with an exit velocity of 73 mph per Statcast™. Sale was able grab it for the third out. The Rangers are just 2-for-20 (.100) this season with the bases loaded.
"[Sale] got sharper," Banister said. "Listen, he knows how to pitch and he's got nasty stuff. And a guy like that, he put a foot down, also. As much as our guys were trying to get the pitch count up and try to grind away, the stuff he brings, he puts it where he wants to, very minimal pitches in the middle of the zone, everything else on the edges."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Rangers starter Doug Fister kept it close until the sixth when Sandy Leon, the No. 9 hitter and backup catcher, hit a two-out, three-run homer to give the Red Sox a 5-0 lead. Fister struck out the first two batters that inning before giving up a single to Eduardo Nunez and then hitting Jackie Bradley Jr. with a 1-2 pitch.
"Obviously today, the Bradley at-bat was a big one," said Fister, who gave up six runs over 6 1/3 innings against his former club. "Felt really good, put him in a bad count, and then we let him off the hook, hit him in the leg, and that puts me in a bad spot. So that's kind of the epitome of it."
SOUND SMART Delino DeShields went 1-for-3 with a single to extend his hitting streak to a career-long 10 games. He is batting .381 (16-for-42) with eight runs, two homers, a .422 on-base percentage and a .595 slugging percentage during that span.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS Right fielder Mazara got to show off his arm in the fourth inning, throwing out Leon trying to go from first to third on Blake Swihart's single. It was Mazara's third assist this season. According to Statcast™, the throw covered 260 feet with arm strength measured at 94.3 mph. That's the second-hardest throw that Statcast™ has tracked for Mazara in the past three years.
HE SAID IT "I just jogged right now, and I'm going to run the bases self-paced tomorrow and see where I'm at after that. Yeah, it's improving, but I haven't pushed back on it or run the bases. Tomorrow will be the first step of jogging the bases, seeing how I feel and then we'll see. I can't tell you this week or next week. I can't put a day on it." -- Beltre, giving a postgame assessment of his strained left hamstring
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY Both teams had a call reversed at first base in the third and fourth innings.
The Rangers had a chance to load the bases with two outs in the third when Profar, up with two on, was called safe at first on a ground ball to third baseman Devers. The throw appeared to pull first baseman Mitch Moreland off the bag and Profar was ruled safe by umpire Phil Cuzzi. The Red Sox challenged the call and it was overturned as the replay showed Moreland getting his foot back on the bag.
Bradley then sent a one-out, fourth-inning grounder to Profar, the Rangers' shortstop, whose throw was high and inside. First baseman Guzman had to come off the bag and make a tag. Again Cuzzi called the runner safe, and the Rangers challenged the call, which reversed after review. This time, the replay showed Guzman tagging Nunez on the helmet before the runner's foot hit the bag.
UP NEXT Joey Gallo will be back in the lineup for the Rangers when they open up a three-game series with the Tigers at 7:05 p.m. CT on Monday at Globe Life Park. Left-hander Matt Moore counters right-hander Michael Fulmer. Gallo, who was out of the lineup on Sunday, is 1-for-2 with a home run against Fulmer in his career.