Rangers 7, Red Sox 3, 11 innings
Rodriguez hit a grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning, giving the Rangers a 7-3 victory and capping a controversial few days for the game’s highest-paid player.
Before the game, Rodriguez said he was committed to the Rangers as long as the team showed progress toward becoming a contender. But earlier in the week, Rodriguez said he would consider a trade if he felt the Rangers failed to show significant improvement in the next few years.
“It’s been a crazy few days,” Rodriguez said. “It was a good way to end it and to put an end to this nonsense. I don’t think it’s that big a deal. It felt good. It was a long night and it was time to go.”
Then in the Texas 11th, Shane Spencer drew a leadoff walk from Todd Jones (2-1). Donnie Sadler followed with a bunt and was credited with a hit when first baseman Kevin Millar threw late to second baseman Todd Walker covering first.
But after Hank Blalock walked, Rodriguez hit an 0-1 pitch from Jones into the Rangers’ bullpen in right-center.
“Todd Jones has good stuff,” Rodriguez said. “He threw me a fastball and I was able to put some good wood on it.”
Rodriguez, who went 1-for-4 and walked twice, hit his 25th homer and first grand slam of the season. It was his 10th career slam, second with the Rangers.
“He showed why he’s the greatest player in the game,” Young said. “You don’t need a stat sheet to tell you that. There’s nobody I’d rather have up in that situation than him.”
Jones said he had no regrets about the pitch to Rodriguez.
“He hit my best pitch,” Jones said. “A-Rod just got me tonight. He’s a great hitter and he won the battle. With a guy like that, there’s no room for error. I let my team down tonight but I look forward to my next opportunity.”
Erasmo Ramirez (2-0) pitched the 11th for the victory.
Spencer, acquired in a trade with Cleveland on July 18, drove in three runs as Texas won for the fourth time in five games.
He put the Rangers ahead 3-2 with a two-run single in the sixth off Pedro Martinez. Spencer also had an RBI double.
Martinez allowed three runs and six hits over six innings and is unbeaten in 11 starts since May 9. Martinez is also 8-1 for his career against the Rangers and hasn’t lost to Texas since Aug. 7, 1998.
Rangers starter Colby Lewis kept Texas in the game against Martinez, allowing two runs and eight hits over six innings.
“Anytime you get Pedro out of the game and get ahead, it’s great,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “Colby matched him pitch for pitch. He had a good, crisp fastball.”
Boston’s David Ortiz hit a solo homer in the fourth to give the Red Sox 54 home runs for July, the club record for any month. Nixon’s shot extended the mark.
The 1964 Red Sox held the previous record with 53 homers in July.
Earlier in the day, the Red Sox made another addition to their pitching staff when they acquired right-handed starter Jeff Suppan from the PittsburghPirates.
Spencer’s RBI double broke Martinez’s streak of 23 straight scoreless innings against the Rangers. … The Red Sox fell four homers short of matching the major league record of 58 in any month set by the Baltimore Orioles in May 1987. … Nixon reached 20 homers for the third straight season and has sixhomers in his last eight games.