Red Sox-Rangers Preview
By KEVIN CHROUST
(AP) -- The Boston Red Sox overcame a rough stretch in Texas to enjoy one of their best offensive games of the season Saturday.
They'll try to keep it going for John Lackey in Sunday's regular-season series finale with the Rangers, who will be attempting to finally throw some run support Robbie Ross Jr.'s way.
Boston (18-18) ended a five-game losing streak in Arlington with an 8-3 victory a night after nearly being no-hit in the series opener.
"The attitude in the clubhouse early before the game was nothing about last night," said manager John Farrell, whose club matched a season high for runs scored.
David Ortiz went 2 for 4 with a home run and a double and is hitting .438 in his last four games while Shane Victorino went 3 for 4 with four RBIs. Ortiz's blast moved him into fourth on the Red Sox's all-time home run list with 380. After passing Dwight Evans, he needs just two more to match Jim Rice for third.
The Rangers (19-18) lost for just the seventh time in 24 home games against Boston since the start of 2009 and are now out to earn a split in the teams' six regular-season meetings.
Elvis Andrus went 2 for 4 in his second game back in the No. 2 spot in the order after spending five in the bottom half of the lineup. He has six hits in the series and is batting .423 on a seven-game hitting streak.
Lackey (4-2, 3.72 ERA) has impressed in his last three starts with a 2-0 record and 2.05 ERA after struggling though his previous two. He surrendered two runs and five hits in six innings of Sunday's 3-2, 10-inning loss to Oakland.
"For the most part, I felt pretty good about it," Lackey told the team's official website. "Only gave up a couple of runs against a pretty good team."
Perhaps his best outing of 2014 came against the Rangers in his second start of the season as he held them to an unearned run and five hits in seven innings of a 5-1 win.
Shin-Soo Choo is a career .389 hitter (7 for 18) against Lackey while the veteran has held Andrus to a .194 clip (6 for 31).
Ross (1-3, 4.74) could offer the Boston lineup a chance to continue hitting. He's lost consecutive starts and is 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA and .379 opponents' average in his last four. He gave up six runs and a career-high 12 hits in Tuesday's 12-1 loss in Colorado. His spot in the rotation could be in jeopardy with Joe Saunders nearing a return.
"It's frustrating," Ross told the team's official website. "Hopefully, this is just a little spell I'm going through these past two games and I can bounce back from it. Hopefully, I'll have a short memory and try to go out there and get ready for my next one. ... You just have to grow from it and learn from it, try to forget about it but also take some stuff that I might be able to do different."
The left-hander's start against Boston on April 9 was considerably better as he surrendered an unearned run and two hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 4-2 loss and didn't factor into the decision.
That level of run support hasn't been uncommon for Ross. He's received just eight runs in seven starts, and his 1.89 run-support average is tied for the lowest in baseball with Houston's Brett Oberholtzer among qualifying pitchers.
Updated May 11, 2014