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Extra Bases: Fielder's slump continues

BOSTON – Seemingly all the conditions were in place Monday night for Texas Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder to break out of his slump.

Though Fielder entered the contest hitless in his last eight at-bats and batting a lowly .167, he was facing Boston Red Sox pitcher John Lackey, off of whom he had four hits in nine previous at-bats; and at Fenway Park, where his slash line in 57 at-bats read .368/.439/.789, resulting in the highest all-time OPS for a hitter at Fenway with at least 50 at-bats.

He's now 0-for-his-past-12 and batting .143 after going 0-for-4 Monday in the Rangers' 5-1 loss to the Red Sox.

“Just got to go up there, no matter how you feel, you’ve got to give it your best,” Fielder said. “Try to take the feeling out of it, just try to see what I can do.”

Fielder has started the season 4-for-28; he's batted third in all seven games for Texas, which dropped to 3-4. Regardless, Fielder said he’s felt good at the plate and is where he wants to be offensively.

Obviously, Fielder said of his slump, "you want to get out of it."

Manager Ron Washington also expressed little concern with his slugging first baseman.

“He seemed to be calm,” Washington said. “Offensively, things aren’t happening. He’s a little ahead of things, he’s a little behind of things. That’s Prince Fielder. I certainly believe in him and I know sooner or later it’s going to happen.”

Defensive woes continue: With two more errors Monday night, the Rangers moved into sole possession of the major league lead with 10.

“It’s a part of the game,” Washington said of the miscues. “I don’t think anyone in the game works harder on their defense than we do. Just a matter of waiting until it comes together.”

With a runner on first in the first inning, David Ortiz hit a ball to second baseman Donnie Murphy, who tossed it over to shortstop Elvis Andrus, who was covering the bag. Andrus, who initially caught the ball, lost control on the transfer, allowing Daniel Nava to slide safely into second. Despite a challenge from Washington, his second of the season, the call was upheld and Andrus was charged with his third error.

“He didn’t have control of the ball,” Washington said. “That’s what [the umpire] said, in his eyes he didn’t have control of the ball.”

In the eighth inning, the Red Sox had runners at first and second with none out when Jackie Bradley Jr. laid down a bunt to the right side that Fielder failed to field cleanly. The first baseman rushed a throw over to Murphy covering first, missing low and allowing A.J. Pierzynski to come around and score Boston’s third run. The error was Fielder’s second of the season.

“It’s not that deep,” Fielder said of the bunt. “I just messed it up.”

Murphy in hot water: With Alex Rios on third and one out in the seventh, Murphy stepped up to bat against Lackey needing only a fly ball to tie the game for the Rangers. Instead, Murphy popped out to second baseman Dustin Pedroia, drawing the ire of his manager after the game.

“That was about as easy as a situation that you could ever have,” Washington said. “He’s a fly-ball hitter. He didn’t get the job done, that’s all of that.”