BOSTON — Texas pitching couldn’t hold on to three- and four-run leads at Fenway Park Wednesday, but their bats still managed to get the job done as the Rangers escaped with a 10-9 victory in the deciding game of a three-game series with the Red Sox.
After beleaguered Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine sent Clayton Mortensen (recalled hours earlier from the minors) out to pitch in a the ninth inning of a tie game, Adrian Beltre hit his second sacrifice fly of the game to give the Rangers a 10-9 victory in the deciding game of a three-game series.
Mortensen, who had already pitched three innings, walked Elvis Andrus (three hits) and gave up a single by Josh Hamilton (triple and homer earlier) that sent Andrus to third.
Closer Alfredo Aceves, who probably should have started the inning, relieved and Beltre drove one to deep left-center to break the tie, giving Mortensen (1-1) the loss.
Nelson Cruz, who homered in the seventh (No. 18), then hit one a mile that was called fouled, appeared to be fair but was not overturned. He wound up walking, but Aceves stopped the bleeding there.
Alexi Ogando (2-0) pitched two perfect innings for the win while Joe Nathan notched his 23rd save, his second in as many games. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in 10 career Fenway outings.
Cody Ross, who had an RBI single and solo homer (No. 17) earlier, doubled with one out in the ninth, but Nathan escaped another Boston comeback attempt with a pair of strikeouts.
The Rangers went 4-1 at Fenway and 6-2 against the Red Sox this season.
The Red Sox tied the game with four runs in the seventh off reliever Roy Oswalt. Dustin Pedroia singled and scored on Adrian Gonzalez’s third RBI double of the game. Ross then walked and Will Middlebrooks tied the game with his second three-run homer (15 homers overall) in two games.
The offensive rally took floundering Boston starter Josh Beckett off the hook.
Mitch Moreland (No. 12) and Hamilton (No.30, to go along with four RBI) reached Beckett (1-5 in his last 11 starts) in the fifth inning and Geovany Soto (No. 7, first as a Ranger) connected in the sixth before Beckett left to a chorus of boos.
Texas starter Matt Harrison came up one out short of qualifying for the win, leaving the game with the bases loaded and two out in the fifth. Oswalt, who has been shifted to the bullpen amid some turmoil after failing as a starter, ended that inning with a strikeout and had a perfect sixth before coming apart in the seventh.
Hamilton had 11 RBI and went 12-for-22 in five games (four Texas wins) at Fenway this season.
The homers were the first Beckett allowed in his last 13 starts, dating back to yielding two against the Indians May 10.
Beckett came into the game with a 9.50 first-inning ERA, and it went up to 10.42 as the Rangers scored three in the first. Ian Kinsler opened with a nine-pitch walk and stole second before taking third on Andrus’ bunt single before both scored on Hamilton’s triple. Beltre’s sacrifice fly brought Hamilton home.
The Sox struck for two runs with two out in the second. Pedroia singled and scored on Gonzalez’s first double. Gonzalez scored when Ross singled and, after Beckett escaped trouble in the bottom of the inning, Ross tied the game with his first homer in his last 18 games.
NOTES: Boston’s DL parade continued when reliever Vicente Padilla (triceps, biceps, groin) hit the 15-day list. Mortensen was called up from Class AAA Pawtucket. Padilla is the 24th player to be disabled this year out of 28 transactions. One, David Ortiz (Achilles), is on target to return this weekend in Cleveland, where Felix Doubront opens a four-game series tonight. The Rangers host Detroit for three in a potential playoff preview, Scott Feldman opening Friday night. … Nelson Cruz came in with the No. 2 all-time Fenway opponent’s batting average for players with at least 50 at-bats. Will Clark hit .434 and Cruz was at .421 after going 5 for 8 in the first two games of this series. Wednesday, he went 1 for 3. … Ortiz went to Beckett’s defense Tuesday night, saying, when asked about Beckett getting booed when leaving with an injury last week, and how some doubted he was actually hurt, “Are you kidding me? When it comes to Josh Beckett, this is a guy who likes competition. Trust me, the way he was pitching that night, he wanted no part of being out of the game. I know what I’m talking about. This is the same guy who later that night couldn’t even get out of a chair or bend over to pick something up … I think it’s wrong.”