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Defensive miscues in Fenway sink Rangers

Late rally falls short after Sale outduels Colon in series finale
MLB.com

BOSTON -- Delino DeShields and Joey Gallo stood a few lockers apart in the visitors clubhouse at Fenway Park, no words or even a glance exchanged. That was one of the problems for the Rangers on Wednesday night -- not enough words.

Not that communication has been a problem for the pair, but Fenway Park is different: the lights are lower, the dimensions deceptive, outfield positioning altered. All of this amounted to defensive struggles for the Rangers as they fell to the Red Sox, 4-2, on Wednesday night.

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BOSTON -- Delino DeShields and Joey Gallo stood a few lockers apart in the visitors clubhouse at Fenway Park, no words or even a glance exchanged. That was one of the problems for the Rangers on Wednesday night -- not enough words.

Not that communication has been a problem for the pair, but Fenway Park is different: the lights are lower, the dimensions deceptive, outfield positioning altered. All of this amounted to defensive struggles for the Rangers as they fell to the Red Sox, 4-2, on Wednesday night.

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"Some of those balls, I felt like, should've been caught, you know? There were outs," DeShields said. "But there was just some miscommunication -- not really miscommunication, just everybody going hard. And I'm not -- we're all trying to avoid getting hurt in that sense. You know, I'd rather have a ball drop than me run into a 250-pound guy running full speed."

DeShields was caught in two near collisions with Gallo -- the latter of which forced DeShields to leave the game for precautionary reasons to evaluate his neck and shoulder area.

But trouble started for the Rangers before that, when starter Bartolo Colon missed a throw to first base in the second inning, allowing a runner to advance to second -- his first error in 40 games. Then, Eduardo Nunez popped up a fly ball that looked like an easy grab for Rougned Odor, but Odor fumbled the catch, and Xander Bogaerts scored. It was the first unearned run scored against Colon since May 9.

Video: TEX@BOS: Bogaerts crosses the dish on Odor's error

The Red Sox extended that lead with a two-run double by J.D. Martinez in the fifth inning, then tacked on another with a Bogaerts RBI triple that threaded in between Gallo and DeShields -- a narrowly avoided collision course.

Manager Jeff Banister blamed that fifth inning on bad luck. His players were placed as best as they could be on the Fenway outfield, but the Red Sox's hits, like Martinez's grounder double to the left-field corner, defied the odds.

"The challenge is those balls in between," Banister said. "You hope that they stay in the air long enough to make the catch."

Video: TEX@BOS: Bogaerts flares an RBI triple to left-center

In the sixth inning, another one of those unlucky hits put Gallo on a crash course with DeShields, who fell as he dodged the collision.

"If we're anywhere else, [Gallo] knows that that's my area," DeShields said. "But he's a little closer to it. … When we're at home, that's mine, but left field's a little shorter in. He could have caught it, I could have caught it, it's just in between, perfectly placed. It just is what it is."

With the Rangers' offense up against All-Star lefty Chris Sale, the defensive slips appeared even more costly. Sale fanned 12 while allowing six hits in seven innings -- extending his record of 11-plus strikeouts with one or no walks to five straight starts.

The Rangers had better luck against the Red Sox bullpen, and closed the deficit to two runs with an RBI single by Nomar Mazara and a bases-loaded walk by Robinson Chirinos. But the late offense was not enough to mount a comeback, allowing the Sox to complete the series sweep.

Video: TEX@BOS: Mazara smacks an RBI single to right

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
After Chirinos drew a bases-loaded walk to make it a two-run deficit in the eighth with two outs, Gallo stepped up to the plate with the potential tying run at second base. But Gallo struck out on a 98.5-mph fastball from Craig Kimbrel, squandering the Rangers' best scoring chance.

Video: TEX@BOS: Kimbrel fans Gallo, strands the bases loaded

SOUND SMART
This was the fifth straight start in Fenway Park that Colon has limited the Red Sox to three or fewer earned runs, with a 2.57 ERA and 1-2 record in those games. He has allowed no more than three earned runs in five straight starts.

HE SAID IT
"Obviously, getting the barrel to the baseball, a little better timing, a little calmer in the batter's box. It is nice to see him spark up and get some hits in tough at-bats and still put the ball in play and get some hits. We've talked about it, and it felt like there are times where he looks like he's really close. I'm sure this type of game will give him the confidence he needs going into Baltimore." -- Banister, on Elvis Andrus' strong showing (3-for-5, two doubles)

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Mookie Betts thought he had an infield hit in the sixth on a grounder deep in the hole at shortstop. Andrus ranged over to make a nice play, and then made a jump throw that one-hopped Odor, who stretched to receive the ball. Originally, baserunner Sandy Leon was called safe, as second-base umpire Todd Tichenor ruled Odor came off the bag. But the Rangers challenged the play, and it was overturned after a brief review.

Video: TEX@BOS: Andrus, Odor nab Leon on overturned call

UP NEXT
Following an off-day for the Rangers, left-hander Cole Hamels will make his 19th start of the season on Friday in the series opener against the Orioles. Hamels struggled in his last stint on the mound, allowing seven runs (three earned) in two-thirds of an inning, but manager Jeff Banister is optimistic about Hamels' solid off-speed command. The veteran left-hander will be opposed by Alex Cobb, with first pitch in Baltimore set for 6:05 p.m. CT.

Blake Richardson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston.

Texas Rangers