Rangers 4, Red Sox 1

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—R.A. Dickey turned his back after a two-out walk in the ninth, hoping that would keep manager Buck Showalter from coming out of the dugout.

It didn’t work.

Dickey was pulled one out shy of a shutout, but the Texas Rangers held on to beat the Boston Red Sox 4-1 Sunday night, completing a three-game sweep in a series matching division leaders.

“I’m not going to say I ran out of gas,” said Dickey, the Rangers’ No. 1 draft pick in 1996. “He gave me as much rope as he could before he had to cut it off. I was just thankful for the opportunity.”

A night after throwing 34 pitches in saving both games of a doubleheader, Francisco Cordero walked two batters—the second with the bases loaded— before wrapping up his 10th save in 10 chances.

Alfonso Soriano and David Dellucci homered for the surprising Rangers, who have won four straight and eight of nine. The AL West leaders also won their seventh home game in a row.

Making his 18th career start, Dickey (4-1) set down 14 straight batters during one stretch. The right-hander allowed four hits, struck out five and walked four in winning his third consecutive start.

“Your hear a lot of people talk about quality pitchers, some guys that people don’t mention in the same breath with R.A.,” Showalter said. “But if you’re going to get him, you better get him early because guys with his mentality do get stronger as the game goes on.”

Dickey threw 131 pitches and was lifted after a four-pitch walk to Kevin Millar. After two more walks, Cordero retired Cesar Crespo on a routine fly with the bases loaded.

“I felt good mechanically from about the third inning on,” Dickey said.

It was the Rangers’ first series sweep of Boston since August 1999. They got their 16th win, tying San Diego for most in the majors.

Boston, which leads the AL East, had a six-game winning streak before getting to Texas.

“The same things we’ve been doing to teams, they’ve been doing to us this series,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

The Rangers, the best-hitting team in the majors, managed just five hits off knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (2-1) in seven innings. But two were big hits.

Brad Fullmer led off the fourth with a triple on a ball that skipped by a sliding Johnny Damon in center field. Fullmer scored on Mark Teixeira’s groundout for a 1-0 lead.

Dellucci hit a full-count, two-out pitch for a solo shot in the seventh. His fourth homer came right after he hit a ball just foul deep down the right-field line.

Wakefield struck out four and hit a batter with a pitch.

Michael Young greeted reliever Alan Embree with a leadoff triple in the eighth, and Hank Blalock followed with a sacrifice fly. Soriano then hit his second homer—the 100th of his career—for a 4-0 lead.

Boston had the bases loaded in the second after Mark Bellhorn drew his AL-high 25th walk. Dickey escaped when Doug Mirabelli grounded into a double play, the 36th turned by the Rangers this season, most in the majors.

An inning later, the Red Sox had two on for Manny Ramirez, who struck out on a half-swing for the final out. Ramirez was 2-for-11 in the series with six strikeouts.

That started Dickey’s streak of retiring 14 straight batters—until Dave McCarty’s pinch-hit single in the eighth.

“He was nasty today,” Ramirez said. “He was on.”

The sprained left knee that kept Brian Jordan on the disabled list and delayed his Texas debut until last week doesn’t appear to be bothering him anymore. Jordan made tough catches against consecutive batters in just his third game in right field.

Jordan made a diving catch of Brian Daubach’s sinking liner to start the fourth, snagging the ball just inches from the ground. Then he sprinted deepinto the right-center gap to rob Millar of a hit.

Notes

Boston 3B Bill Mueller robbed Kevin Mench of a hit to start the fifth. Mueller made a leaping, backhand grab of a liner, deflecting the ball up and then catching it as it came down and he was falling to the ground. … Dickey pitched his only shutout last Aug. 20 at Detroit. … Boston DH David Ortiz was0-for-3 with a walk, ending his 12-game hitting streak.

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