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Alexi Ogando gives Rangers a huge lift

BOSTON -- It's safe to say everyone in the Texas Rangers' dugout was happy to have Alexi Ogando back on the mound Wednesday night.

Ogando delivered one of the most important starts of the team's season, stopping the Boston Red Sox's momentum cold after they put a 17-5 pounding on the Rangers on Tuesday night.

Ogando wasn't around to benefit from Elvis Andrus' two-run double in the seventh inning that sparked a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night. But there's no doubt it was Ogando who gave the Rangers a chance on this night at Fenway Park.

"We needed that," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He gave us exactly what we needed."

Ogando, who had missed three weeks with right biceps tendinitis, came out strong against the Red Sox. While Boston starter John Lackey held down the Rangers' bats for the first three innings, so did Ogando against the Sox, allowing a single but facing the minimum in the first three innings.

Adrian Beltre gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with a home run in the fourth inning and Ogando kept on dominating.

Ogando struck out the side in the fourth inning, working around two base runners. He fanned David Ortiz on a full count, blowing a 96-mph fastball by him. Ogando then went to another full count against former teammate Mike Napoli. On his eighth pitch of the at-bat, Ogando locked up Napoli with a slider for a called third strike.

"That was a great moment,” Ogando said. “That was a big inning. I had to focus on every pitch. I had to concentrate and not throw any mistake pitches.”

Ogando struck out two more batters looking in the fifth inning. Four of Ogando's six strikeouts were looking as he had great life on his fastball and mixed in his slider and changeup.

The only downer was a solo home run that Dustin Pedroia blooped over the Green Monster with two outs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 1-1. For Ogando, it was a cutter that missed and it cost him a chance at a win. He was lifted with 92 pitches thrown.

The fact that Ogando didn't get his fifth win of the season didn't lessen his impact on the game.

"We need him back in the rotation," said Rangers closer Joe Nathan, who had a 1-2-3 ninth for his 18th save. "We need him feeling good about himself, feeling confident and knowing that he's going to be a stable member of that rotation."