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Rangers foiled by another shaky start

Ross gives up early runs, allows five runs in 6 2/3 innings

ARLINGTON -- Robbie Ross wasn't as bad as he was two starts ago, when he gave up a career-high 10 runs in a 12-1 loss to the A's. He wasn't as ineffective as he was when he allowed six runs on a career-high 12 hits in another 12-1 defeat to the Rockies last Tuesday.

But, for the fifth straight time, Ross wasn't good enough to win.

The left-hander was tagged for five runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings of a 5-2 loss to the Red Sox on Sunday at Globe Life Park. He gave up three first-inning runs, which proved to be plenty for Red Sox right-hander John Lackey, who limited the Rangers to two runs on seven hits over seven innings. The Rangers have lost 10 of their last 14 games and have not won a series at home in three weeks.

"We're just not hitting on all cylinders," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We're not pitching at the same time. We're certainly not as consistent as we're capable of being on the offensive side; That's the way baseball flows."

Ross, who is winless in his last five starts, got off to a shaky start, allowing the first-inning runs and giving up another run in the second to put the Rangers in an early 4-0 hole. He surrendered leadoff doubles in each of the first two innings to Dustin Pedroia and Jackie Bradley Jr. -- both of whom scored. A.J. Pierzynski's two-out, two-run single scored David Ortiz and Mike Napoli to give the Red Sox a three-run lead they wouldn't relinquish.

"We just had a very good overall approach all day long," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "An extra base hit to start things off, in a day game following a night game, it kind of wakes you up, gives you a boost of energy and that's exactly what happened in the first."

After starting the season 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA, Ross is 0-3 with a 9.98 ERA in his last three starts. Ross and Martin Perez, who was touched up for six runs in Saturday's loss to the Red Sox, have each allowed at least five runs in three straight starts. Before this week, Nick Tepesch, who did the same thing last June, was the only one in team history to do that.

"You get frustrated with yourself," Ross said. "I had my two bad outings and let it come into this next game, thinking I need to do something else and try to be better than I really am instead of going out there and attacking, letting our guys make plays."

Ross settled down after the second inning, not allowing a runner past first base in the following four frames. But Pedroia drove the career-high 112th and final pitch Ross threw just over the wall in left-center in the seventh, giving the Red Sox a 5-1 advantage.

"Giving up that homer to Pedroia was a punch in the gut," Ross said. "5-2 is a lot different than 4-2. I would've loved to get out of that inning and see what could've happened after me trying to get him out."

Coming into the game, John Lackey was 13-15 with a 5.81 ERA in 39 career starts against the Rangers -- his highest ERA against any team in the Majors. But Lackey stymied them in Sunday's series finale, holding the Rangers to two runs on seven hits over seven innings, striking out nine and walking none.

Lackey did not allow a hit until Shin-Soo Choo's leadoff 411-foot homer in the fourth. Prince Fielder and Alex Rios both singled with two outs later in the inning but Lackey struck out Mitch Moreland swinging to keep the Rangers from scoring again.

The Rangers tried to rally again in the seventh as Rios hit a one-out single up the middle and Moreland doubled him home to trim the Red Sox's lead to 5-2. After J.P. Arencibia reached on an infield single bobbled by shortstop Xander Bogaerts, Lackey fanned Leonys Martin and Rougned Odor to end the inning.

"The guy makes the money he makes for a reason," said Rangers catcher J.P. Arencibia, who went 1-for-3 and struck out twice. "He's been in those situations before. The difference is, if you make a pitch, you get out of it. If you miss the pitch, you get hurt. That's the game. Sometimes guys go out there and have to tip their cap."

Christian Corona is a contributor to
Read More: Texas Rangers, Shin-Soo Choo, Mitch Moreland, Robbie Ross Jr.