Wright gets bad break on pair of knucklers
Red Sox righty allows two home runs to Rangers' Hamilton
ARLINGTON -- Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright didn't make many mistakes Friday, but the ones he did make were costly -- and it was that kind of night across the board for Boston.
Wright took the loss in a 7-4 defeat to the Rangers, with a pair of Josh Hamilton home runs being the key blows that put a damper on Wright's otherwise efficient outing.
In his third start of the season, Wright went 5 2/3 innings and allowed five hits and three earned runs. He also struck out four and walked one. But Hamilton hit two Wright knuckleballs over the right-field wall at Globe Life Park, his first home runs this season. Both pitches were up and on the inner half of the plate.
"It wasn't so much the height," Wright said. "It kind of broke into him. If that pitch breaks away, then maybe he doesn't get it out. But that's his hot spot. He proved that's definitely where he likes it. … That's kind of the nature of the beast with the knuckleball."
Aside from Hamilton's blasts, Wright's outing was good enough to keep the Red Sox in the game through the middle innings.
"He kept the game under control," manager John Farrell said. "We battled back to tie the score at 2. … He gave us a chance, kept us in the ballgame, for sure."
The Red Sox, though, were never able to get the breaks they needed or create the breaks they wanted. Rusney Castillo grounded into two double plays, and Rangers second baseman Adam Rosales ended the sixth inning with a diving stop to retire Xander Bogaerts and strand Mike Napoli on first.
Even after a Hanley Ramirez two-run home run in the eighth cut the deficit to 5-4, Boston couldn't gain the needed momentum. Napoli struck out looking in the ensuing at-bat, and both he and Farrell were ejected after arguing.
To add to the misfortune, a bullpen that entered with the third-best ERA in the Majors since May 10 let Texas pull away. Alexi Ogando allowed three hits and two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning. Craig Breslow replaced him in the seventh, but he ended up being charged with two runs of his own in the eighth.
All in all, it made for too many problems for the Red Sox to overcome and resulted in their fourth loss in the past five games.
"We continued to battle back," Farrell said. "I thought there was a lot of good at-bats throughout the course of this ballgame. We were aggressive on the basepaths. We were able to execute a couple of hit-and-runs, but in the end, we couldn't hold them down."