BOSTON -- Mike Minor made just one mistake on Monday night and the Red Sox made the Rangers pay for it.
In the bottom of the first inning, Steve Pearce took a 3-2, two-out fastball from the Texas starter over the Green Monster in left field, plating J.D. Martinez in the process to give the hosts a two-run lead that would balloon to 5-0 before the final out was made.
It was Pearce's fifth home run of the season and first since coming to Boston from Toronto in a late June trade.
"First inning I was behind everybody, couldn't throw where I wanted to," Minor said. "I felt really good, my body felt good, my arm felt good. I just didn't make quality pitches early."
Also working against the Rangers' efforts on the night was their own offense, which was dormant for the first 3 1/3 innings, before Adrian Beltre singled for the first hit off Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez.
Texas managed only three hits off the left-hander and was unable to get any runners past second base in the 5 2/3 innings that Rodriguez was on the hill.
The Rangers' best opportunity of the night came in the top of the seventh inning when Robinson Chirinos legged out a triple after taking a Brandon Workman offering into the center-field triangle.
Joey Gallo then stepped up to pinch-hit for Ryan Rua, but he was erased via strikeout, followed by a hard grounder from Delino DeShields to third base that was hit with enough gusto to keep Chirinos planted at third.
With two outs, Elvis Andrus scorched a ground ball to Eduardo Nunez that was initially bobbled, but Nunez picked it up in time to make the play at first and erase Texas' true lone threat on the evening.
"They're a tough team. They swing the bats well, they've got solid starting pitching," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It felt like we had an opportunity in the seventh, even in the eighth, to push a run across. Best opportunity there in the seventh, but didn't get the run across."
Minor's night was finished after 5 1/3 innings in which he allowed just those two first-inning runs on six hits while striking out four.
"I thought Mike Minor threw the ball very well tonight," Banister said. "Other than the home run in the first to Pearce, he settled in, good mix of pitches, kept us in striking distance."
His replacement, the newly acquired Cory Gearrin, tossed a spotless 1 2/3 innings before handing things over to Jesse Chavez, who promptly gave up two singles to lead off the eighth before Martinez deposited his Major League-leading 28th home run into the Monster Seats to cap the scoring on the night.
"We hit some balls hard that they made some great plays on," Banister said. "It's a solid defensive team, it's a good team. When you play a team like this, you have to capitalize on opportunities and we were unable to do that tonight. A couple swings of the bat and we don't score and that's the ballgame."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Prior to the seventh inning, the Rangers had opportunities in the fourth and sixth innings, when they had runners on first and second base, but both rallies were snuffed out with Isiah Kiner-Falefa at the plate. The Texas third baseman ended the fourth by flying out to left field and went down swinging to close out the top of the sixth.
With Gearrin recording outs on the five batters he faced, he helped the bullpen increase its run of scoreless innings to 12 2/3 frames. They were one out away from their longest such streak of the season before Chavez served up the home run to Martinez in the eighth.
HE SAID IT
"It's more frustrating right now that I feel like I'm getting harnessed back a lot. Even when I do pitch good, the pitch counts are low. It's kind of hard to get through five, six innings, seven innings, with 90 pitches or under. The good thing is our bullpen is really good, we're solid back there. But I feel I should do my job and go six-plus every time ... I don't know if I understand the process. I see the process and what's happening." -- Minor, who threw 93 pitches on the night
The Rangers will turn to Yovani Gallardo in the middle game of their three-game series vs. the Red Sox. Though the right-hander's numbers haven't been spectacular in his four starts since joining the Rangers (5.87 ERA), he has won his last three starts and has worked five or more innings in each outing. Gallardo is 1-3 with a 6.12 ERA in five career starts at Fenway. He will face long reliever Hector Velazquez, who is getting the spot start for Boston.