Texas failed to take advantage of an excellent opportunity to win its fourth straight against the Boston Red Sox. Against Jon Lester(notes), the Rangers’ margin for error isn’t likely to get any larger.
After missing a chance to move into position for a sweep, the Rangers look to avoid becoming the seventh straight team to lose to Lester at Fenway Park as they wrap up a four-game set with the Red Sox on Sunday.
Texas (52-39) took a one-run lead into the ninth Friday night, but lost 3-2 in 11 innings. Kevin Youkilis(notes) tied it for Boston (52-39) with a double in the ninth, then won it with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly.
“He’s just something else,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He just rises to the occasion.”
A victory would have given the AL West-leading Rangers a chance to earn their first road sweep of the Red Sox since 1997. Instead, Texas is in danger of losing for the sixth time in eight games as it contends with one of the majors’ hottest pitchers.
Lester (11-3, 2.78 ERA) continued what has been an outstanding stretch with a perfect sixth inning in the All-Star game Tuesday night. He has won six straight starts at Fenway Park, posting a 1.60 ERA.
The left-hander started the season with three shaky outings, but has since gone 11-1 with a 1.90 ERA in 15 starts. He gave up two runs while striking out six in six innings to earn a win in a 14-3 victory over Toronto on July 9.
Lester is 2-0 with a 3.55 ERA in five starts versus the Rangers.
Wilson is 1-3 with a 3.05 ERA in seven road starts, getting three or fewer runs to work with in each outing. He didn’t need much support to earn a win at Boston on April 22, tossing 6 2-3 innings in a 3-0 victory.
It was his first start against the Red Sox.
The left-hander, though, is coming off one of his worst starts, surrendering three runs and five walks in 4 2-3 innings of a 4-1 loss to Baltimore last Sunday.
Youkilis hasn’t had nearly as much trouble there, going 8 for 20 with two homers and six RBIs over his last five home games. He’s hitting .385 (10 for 26) in six games versus the Rangers this year.
Youkilis’ latest performance gave the Red Sox their third win in 10 games and snapped a three-game home losing streak.