Doubront can't get Sox back on track

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Doubront can't get Sox back on track

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Before Monday night, lefty Felix Doubront had made eight starts following a Red Sox' loss this season and the team managed to win seven of those, with Doubront sporting a 5-0, 2.76 ERA in those games.

But form didn't hold in the opener of the Sox' six-game road trip.

Doubront was shelled for six runs in five-plus innings, matching a career high in earned runs allowed as the Sox' losing streak reached four games with a 9-1 setback to the Texas Rangers.

"What happened was, I left a couple of pitches up," said Doubront, who fell to 10-5 with the defeat, "to the good hitters and they did damage with those pitches."

Doubront hadn't faced Texas before and found out in a hurry why the Rangers' lineup is regarded as one of the strongest in the league.

"They're pretty good hitters," acknowledged Doubront. "They're good and they put the ball in play and score runs."

"He missed with some location," said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, "and you can't do that with a team like this. He couldn't get any off-speed stuff over for strikes and he had to rely on the fastball and they're a good fastball-hitting team."

After the four-run third, Doubront seemed to find himself, retiring eight of nine hitters at one point.

Doubront struck out catcher Mike Napoli twice, but the third time he faced him, Napoli ran the count full against the lefty.

"I wanted to show him a different pitch (in that third at-bat)," recalled Doubront. "(With two strikes on him), I thought it was strike three. I tried to throw a curve and it wasn't a strike. Then, I went with my best pitch, a fastball, and he got it."

Napoli drove the pitch deep into the left field seats for a two-run homer, lifting the Texas lead to 6-1 and ending Doubront's night.

"That happens," said Doubront. "We have to keep going and I'm just looking forward to my next start and helping the team better."

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 7, White Sox 3

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 7, White Sox 3

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 7-3 win over the White Sox:

QUOTES

* "Where five days ago, he was able to harness things and command the baseball a little better, tonight that was not the case.'' - John Farrell on Henry Owens.

* "That was a momentum shift for us.'' - Farrell on the inning-ending double play that ended the fifth, with Mookie Betts throwing out Brett Lowrie at the plate.

* "They've done outstanding work, when our backs have been against the wall with some early exits by starters.'' Farrell on the bullpen contributions.

* "It's disappointing, (after) working hard on my mechanics the last five days.'' - Owens on his command struggles.

* "It's good to win a series, for sure, against this team.'' - Xander Bogaerts on the win.

NOTES

* Seven different Red Sox hitters produced an RBI.

* The Red Sox are 9-2 in their last 11 and 11-4 in their last 15.

* Hanley Ramirez, who homered for the second time in his last two games, has nine RBI in his last nine games.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 11 straight games.

* The Sox became the first team to beat the White Sox two games in a row at home.

STARS

1) Matt Barnes

Barnes picked up the win in relief, contributing five big outs in the middle innings and stabilizing the game for the Red Sox bullpen.

2) Dustin Pedroia

After going hitless Wednesday night in the cleanup spot, Pedroia was back in the No. 2 hole and got the Sox off on the right foot with a solo homer in the top of the first. He later added two more hits.

3) Hanley Ramirez

Returning from a one-game absence, Ramirez belted his second homer in as many games and also worked two walks, a good sign for someone who not long ago was too often expanding the strike zone.

First impressions: Red Sox bullpen picks up the slack in 7-3 win

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First impressions: Red Sox bullpen picks up the slack in 7-3 win

CHICAGO -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 7-3 win over the White Sox:

* Henry Owens doesn't throw enough strikes to remain in the rotation.

Owens's time was coming to an end anyway, what with the imminent return of Eduardo Rodriguez.

But Owens may have pitched his way out of another start with his outing Thursday night. He faced 16 hitters and walked six hitters.

In every inning he began, he allowed the leadoff hitter to reach. This, despite his teammates scoring runs for him in every previous half inning.

* For a team without a lot of homers, the Red Sox hit their share Thursday night.

The Sox came into the game tied for 11th in homers in the American League, then hit three in the first six innings.

Each one of the homers -- by Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley - came with the bases empty, but together, they helped the Red Sox hold off the White Sox.

Ramirez's homer was particularly encouraging, since it was his second in the last three nights, and like the one he hit on Tuesday, was hit to the opposite field.

* The bullpen picked up a lot of slack.

When the Henry Owens Walkfest mercifully ended in the fourth inning, the Red Sox still had 18 outs to get.

Heath Hembree stumbled some, allowing a run on five hits -- the first run he's allowed this season -- but Matt Barnes, Junichi Tazawa, Robbie Ross. Jr took it from there, chipping in for the final 4 1/3 innings, all scoreless.

Thus far this season, the Red Sox have won four games in which their starter failed to get to the fifth inning. Some of that is a tribute to the offense, which has rallied a few times to make up early deficits.

But it's also due in part to the bullpen, which has provided quality relief and bought time for the offense to catch up.

* The Sox continue to play well on the road.

Through the first four road series, the Red Sox are 4-0-1, having done no worse than a split in their road sets to date.

Learning to win on the road now can be a useful trait for this team in the second half, when the schedule has them playing far more games away from home in the final two and a half months of the season.

* Boston had a balanced offensive attack.

Every member of the starting lineup except one Thursday had either an extra-base hit or a sacrifice fly. Leadoff hitter Mookie Betts, who continues to run hot and cold, was the only starter without one or the other, though he did have a single, walk twice and score a run.

In all, seven different players recorded one RBI.