ARLINGTON, Texas -- Red Sox starter Erik Bedard wasn't the best pitcher Monday night because Rangers starter C.J. Wilson couldn't have been much better as Boston dropped the opening game of this four-game series against the Texas Rangers, 4-0, at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
The Texas left-hander worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed only four hits with two walks and four strikeouts. He threw 110 pitches (70 strikes) and was efficient, especially in the middle innings.
“His stuff is just filthy,” Francona said. “When we’ve had our full lineup, he’s gone through us, so we can’t make an excuse. He’s got a lot of good pitches and he went right through us. We had a couple of chances, but then he made really good pitches.”
Of how Wilson settled in over the middle innings, Francona said, “He started throwing strikes with all his pitches. He was power, cut, change; you name it, he threw it.”
Bedard worked six innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with one walk, four strikeouts and a home run. He tossed 107 pitches (69 strikes).
With Jacoby Ellsbury (back), Kevin Youkilis (back) and David Ortiz (bursitis) out of the lineup, Boston’s potent offense was vulnerable against a good pitcher. The Sox managed only four hits, none for extra bases.
Ellsbury is expected back in the lineup on Tuesday and Ortiz is hoping for the same, if not Wednesday. Youkilis remains on the disabled list.
Texas’ first run came with some controversy in the bottom of the third inning. With one out and one runner on, the Rangers’ Ian Kinsler lifted a fly ball to shallow right-center field. Red Sox right fielder Josh Reddick came charging in and made a sliding catch, got to his feet and appeared to have doubled up Craig Gentry at first. First-base umpire Doug Eddings, however, signaled that Reddick did not catch the ball and Texas had runners on first and second.
Francona came out to argue to no avail. The replay clearly showed it was a catch. The Rangers’ Elvis Andrus followed with an RBI single to give Texas a 1-0 lead.
“I clearly caught it in my opinion,” Reddick said. “Nobody’s perfect. He just missed it. I was 100 percent sure I caught it because if I don’t catch it, it bounces off my chest instead of going right in the glove.”
“I thought he caught it. In fact, I know he caught it,” Francona said. “When an umpire says he’s sure, and he’s not, I don’t know what to do.”
It stayed a one-run game until Mike Napoli crushed a three-run homer off Bedard in the bottom of the sixth. There were two outs and two on when Napoli connected on a 1-2 offering from Bedard and deposited it into the left-field seats for a 4-0 advantage.
“I thought he pitched great,” Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said of Bedard. “[Napoli] hit a good pitch that was up and in. Nap did a great job of hitting that pitch and it’s not an easy pitch to hit. He did a good job of hitting it, but other than that [Bedard] pitched great.”
REDDICK STRUGGLING: Reddick continues to struggle offensively. He went 0-for-3 Monday night and is now 3 for his last 21. Fellow right fielder J.D. Drew, who is on the DL with a left shoulder impingement, is scheduled to begin a four-game minor league rehab assignment on Friday and if everything goes as planned, he’ll be activated on Sept. 1.
UP NEXT: The Red Sox send right-hander John Lackey (11-9, 6.02 ERA) to the mound to face Texas righty Colby Lewis (11-8, 3.83). Lackey is 0-1 with a 22.09 ERA in one start against the Rangers this season. He allowed nine runs on 10 hits with two walks in 3 2/3 innings on April 2. Lackey is 11-13 in his career against the Rangers with a 6.07 ERA, including a 6-6 record in this ballpark.