The Juice: Red Sox's McDonald nullifies nine Rangers stolen bases

Gather 'round, because it's time to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts at Fenway Park, where the Texas Rangers ran and ran and ran, yet the Boston Red Sox won and won and won.

Game of the Day: Red Sox 7, Rangers 6

Only one man could rescue the Boston Red Sox in a game where the opponent stole nine bases.

No, that man wasn't a catcher or a pitcher who could hold runners close. He was a 31-year-old journeyman outfielder who has spent most of his professional career in the minor leagues.

Darnell McDonald(notes) hit a tying pinch home run in the eighth and lined a game-ending single an inning later, powering the Red Sox to a streak-busting victory they needed — would you say "desperately," Red Sox manager Terry Francona?

"I don't care how we did it. We desperately needed to win a game," said Francona, whose team had dropped five straight.

Kind of amazing, considering the liberties taken on the basepaths by the freewheelin' Rangers. Nine times.

Texas baserunners embarrassed the battery of knuckleballer Tim Wakefield(notes) and catcher Victor Martinez(notes) for a club-record nine steals — also the most allowed by the Bosox since 1913.

Elvis Andrus(notes) led the way with three steals, pulling off the feat without getting a hit.

Nelson Cruz(notes), who did swipe 20 last season but — c'mon, he's 240 pounds and likes to swing his boomstick — also had three.

Vladimir Guerrero(notes) had two steals in one inning. He had two last season. And he might be 64 years old.

• Five of the steals came in the third inning alone — and somehow the Rangers scored only one run.

• The Rangers' old club record was eight steals, coming against the Red Sox in 2009.

• Texas went 18-for-18 stealing against the Red Sox last season.

• Boston catchers are a combined 1-for-31 in throwing out baserunners this season. The victim: Robinson Cano(notes) on April 7.

All of that running couldn't win them a ballgame.

McDonald, who has accumulated 5,700 plate appearances in the minors after being considered a solid prospect, made much of his big-league return.

"I couldn't write a script any better than this," said McDonald, who hit his third major-league homer in 158 plate appearances. "A lot happened. A dream come true. That’s why I signed over here to be able to play in this type of atmosphere."

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They Also Played

Rockies 10, Nationals 4: It's a credit to the Rox they were able to play and come away with a victory after learning of Keli McGregor's death. They were obviously close to him. The team president was just 48 years old.

Blue Jays 4, Royals 3: All of those years of training and this is how John Buck(notes) repays the Royals? I'm sure he'd take back this swinging bunt if he could.

Brewers 8, Pirates 1: Don't look at Charlie Morton's(notes) ERA. I said don't look!

Mets 4, Cubs 0: It worked out, but why the heck would the Mets move Mike Pelfrey(notes) from the closer's role? He did so well the other day.

White Sox 4, Rays 1: Yeah, Tampa Bay's seven-game winning streak is over, but at least Joe Maddon gets to wear his hoodie. Jacket Amnesty International steps in, gets results.

Reds 11, Dodgers 9: Hey, I thought Pete Rose was banned from baseball! What's Charlie Hustle doing at Great American Ball Park? Bud Selig, eject this man! Ha, I kid. It's a good thing Pete's given up gambling, with the Reds blowing a six-run lead like that. There would have been a time ... well, let's just say he would have turned into actor Tom Sizemore and gotten a little panicky.

Twins 5, Indians 1: In the third inning, the Tribe replaced their synonymous drum beat with Benny Hill's theme. Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) could not have caused more damage if he literally had opened a floodgate somewhere and emptied the Ohio into Cleveland and drowned LeBron James.

Yankees 7, Athletics 3: Well, Javier Vazquez's(notes) ERA dropped from the 9.00s to the 8.00s. Eventually, it will get wherever it's going. One question for Bob Geren: Why would you let left-hander Craig Breslow(notes) pitch to A-Rod? Didn't he hit a game-ending homer against Breslow last year? (The answer? Yes.)

Braves 4, Phillies 3 (10 inn.): Nate McLouth(notes) waited for the entire dugout to go on a potty break before hitting his game-ending homer.

Raise your hand if you "reached" for Jason Heyward(notes) in fantasy baseball. It's working out, ain't it? (I am not raising my hand, by the way.)

I'm not saying I told Ruben Amaro so, but I told him about the back end of the Phillies' bullpen. He should have done reconstructive surgery. Wasted a perfectly good performance by Kyle Kendrick(notes), too. Boy's so depressed, he wants to move to Japan.

Astros 7, Marlins 5:
Look at the Big Puma run!

D-backs 9, Cardinals 7: Dan Haren(notes) didn't pitch particularly well, but he did hang around long enough to go 4-for-4 at the plate. He actually hit .247 with 10 RBIs last season, so the dude is no chump with a bat.

Angels 6, Tigers 5: No matter his save percentage, I've never liked Fernando Rodney's(notes) game. Until this year. He looks great. Magglio Ordonez(notes) says he's added a sinker. Maybe that's the difference.

Mariners 3, Orioles 1: Actually, it's a doubleheader sweep, because Cliff Lee(notes) also won his 70-pitch simulated game.

Padres 1, Giants 0: I like how the Padres are going green, winning games with just one hit. Do you know how many chlorofluorocarbons are released in a 10-hit game? Let's put it this way: It's what's killing all of Sarah Palin's pet polar bears.

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