By Sean McAdam
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Capping their worst start to a season in 16 years, the Red Sox were swept by the Texas Rangers Sunday, absorbing a 5-1 loss for their third straight setback.
Texas launched four homers to complete a sweep of the Sox. The Rangers hit 11 homers in the three-game set, the most allowed by the Sox in the first three games of a season since at least 1919.
Clay Buchholz was tagged with the loss. He allowed only five hits over 6 13 innings; four of the five, however, were homers.
The Sox' only run came in the seventh when Carl Crawford, who had collected his first hit of the season back in the second inning, singled to left, scoring Kevin Youkilis. The Sox would leave the bases loaded that inning when Texas starter Matt Harrison struck out Jacoby Ellsbury.
The Rangers, who are 16-6 against the Sox since the start of the 2009 season, outscored Boston 26-11 in the series.
Player of the Game: Matt Harrison
Harrison limited the Red Sox to a single run over seven innings. His eight strikeouts tied a career high.
The left-hander drew good reviews from both clubhouses . . . but none better than the one he gave himself.
"I knew if I hit my spots and mixed the speeds up, I was going to be able to keep them under control," he said. "I'm definitely going to take this one and look back on it next time out . . . It was just a good mix of everything. They really couldn't sit on anything. I was able to throw three or four pitches for strikes today."
Honorable Mention: Ian Kinsler
At last: The Red Sox prevented Ian Kinsler from leading off the bottom of the first inning with a home run.
Alas: He simply waited two innings before going deep.
For the third straight game, Kinsler homered off the Red Sox. He was also on base in all four plate appearances with two walks and a hit-by-pitch.
"It's fun, man," said Kinsler, in the lineup at designated hitter instead of second base. "We're swinging the bats excellent right now."
The Goat: Clay Buchholz
Buchholz pitched far better than either of the Red Sox starters who preceded him, but still surrendered four homers in 6 13 innings pitched.
"I don't think these guys missed a mistake in 27 innings," marveled Buchholz of the Rangers, who crushed 11 home runs in the three-game series.
And the amazing thing?
It was only 24 innings. The Rangers, of course, didn't have to bat in the bottom of the ninth in any of the three games.
Trailing 3-0, the Red Sox' offense finally began to stir off Matt Harrison in the seventh. Kevin Youkilis drew a full-count walk to lead off the inning, and David Ortiz -- 4-for-12 with two home runs in the series -- singled to right. After Jed Lowrie grounded into a fielder's choice, Carl Crawford delivered the first Boston run with a single to center.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia flied out for the second out but Darnell McDonald walked on a disputed 3-and-2 pitch, loading the bases.
That brought up Jacoby Ellsbury. After a first-pitch ball, Harrison was able to get swinging strikes on a pair of fastballs. Down in the count 1-and-2, Ellsbury managed to foul off two more fastballs. But Harrison then threw a cutter that Ellsbury swung at and missed, ending the inning with the bases loaded and Texas still ahead, 3-1.
And that, as it turned out, was the Red Sox' last chance. Nelson Cruz got the run right back with a home run into the upper deck in right field in the bottom of the inning, and the Rangers went on to the 5-1 win.
By the Numbers: 11
The Rangers outhomered by the Red Sox in the three-game series, 11-3. As near as the Sox' P.R. staff can tell, the 11 homers are the most allowed by the team in the first three games of a season since 1919.
Quote of Note: Dustin Pedroia
"They kicked our butt -- that's it. We'd better show up and play better Tuesday than we've been playing.''