Welcome to WFAA's live coverage of the undefeated Texas Rangers' third game of the year. If you dropped in for the last two days of live coverage, things may look a little different today. I was warned by the Rangers public relations staff that Major League Baseball doesn't allow anyone to live-blog their games play-by-play. I'm allowed to post once an inning, so updates will be less frequent but longer. It's a beautiful, albeit windy day in Arlington, and I'll check in once more before first pitch at 1:05 this afternoon. Until then, peruse today's much-changed lineup, take a look at the pitching matchup or read today's clubhouse notes.
Pregame - The Rangers have taken the field as fans continue to file in. The club had 1,500 tickets left for today's game this morning, but it could be a sell out with walk-up business this morning. Harrison is on the mound, and Jacoby Ellsbury will lead off for Boston. Updates will come immediately following each inning's final out.
First inning - Ellsbury grounded out to Michael Young (starting at second today), before Harrison struck out Red Sox Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez swinging. A 97-mph fastball got Pedroia, while Gonzalez bit on a 84-mph changeup.
Kinsler looked to make it three leadoff home runs in as many games, after setting a Major League record by hitting them in the first two. The Rangers' second baseman was walked in five pitches to begin the day. Young hit into a double play, clearing the bases for Clay Buchholz. Josh Hamilton struck out looking to end the first, knotted up 0-0.
Second inning - Harrison quickly racked up his third K of the afternoon, sitting Boston third baseman Kevin Youkilis looking. Designated hitter David Ortiz had the first hit of the day on a single to Young. Shortstop Jed Lowrie flied out for the Red Sox for the second out. Left fielder Carl Crawford barely kept a single fair down the left field line, putting runners on first and second. Harrison struck out former Texas catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia with a 93-mph fastball to end the top of the second. Harrison has thrown 24 pitches, 17 for strikes. He's feeling it early.
Adrian Beltre grounded out, followed by a flyout from Nelson Cruz. David Murphy stepped to the plate in his first day in the starting lineup and rewarded manager Ron Washington with a home run (estimated at 386 ft.) just beyond the right field wall. Catcher Mike Napoli flied out to right to end the inning. 1-0, Rangers.
Top of the Third - Just got an update from Rangers' executive vice president of communications John Blake. The MLB rules allow for posts every half-inning. I'll adjust accordingly. Red Sox right fielder Darnell McDonald struck out to open the third. Harrison now has five strikeouts. Ellsbury worked the count full before grounding out. Two down. Pedroia barely beat the throw on a single, bringing out Washington to speak with the first base ump. Gonzalez struck out on a 92-mph fastball to end the top of the inning. Harrison has a gem so far through three.
Bottom of the third - Moreland flied out, before shortstop Andres Blanco stepped up for his first at bat of the year. Blanco struck out swinging for Buchholz' second K of the afternoon. Kinsler came around at the top of the order and recorded his third home run (estimated at 393 ft.) of the year to give Texas a 2-0 lead. A groundout from Michael Young sent the game to the fourth.
Top of the fourth - Youkilis flied out to Hamilton in center field, then Ortiz grounded out. Nelson Cruz caught Lowrie's foul ball to end a 1-2-3 half inning.
Bottom of the fourth - Hamilton struck out in the fourth, his second strikeout today. Beltre flied out in foul territory, before Cruz flied out to left. Still 2-0 Texas, through four.
Top of the fifth - Harrison struck out Carl Crawford to lead off the fifth, then fielded a soft grounder from Saltalamacchia. He was high with the throw to first, putting Salty on base from the error. The defense bailed out the lefty with a timely double play from Blanco to Young to Moreland. On to the bottom of the fifth, with Harrison's pitch count at 67.
Bottom of the fifth - David Murphy grounded into his first out of the day. Napoli hit Texas' third solo home run (estimated at 413 ft.) of the day with a full count on a 94-mph fastball. Buchholz has only allowed three hits, but all were homers. Moreland and Blanco grounded out to end the fifth. Texas now leads 3-0.
Top of the sixth - Ellsbury came back around at the top of the order. He grounded out, as did Pedroia and Gonzalez in another quick half inning.
Bottom of the sixth - Following the Texas Legends race (which Davy Crockett won, for those keeping score), Kinsler was back up for Texas. He walked in four pitches, but was caught stealing during the next at bat. Michael Young dropped a single to shallow right to put a man back on base with one out. Hamilton grounded into a 3-6-4 double play to end the inning.
Top of the seventh - Harrison walked Youkilis to give up his first base on balls of the day. Ortiz singled to put two on with no outs as the Texas bullpen started warming. Lowrie grounded into a force out that left runners at the corners, before Crawford singled on a line drive to center field. Youkilis score the first Boston run of the afternoon. 3-1, Texas. A wild pitch in the next at bat put two runners in scoring position with two outs.
McDonald got a full count on Harrison as the fans rose to their feet. A fourth ball loaded the bases for Ellsbury. With a 1-2 count, Ellsbury fouled off two pitches before he struck out swinging. Harrison recorded his eighth K to end the seventh. Rangers lead 3-1.
Bottom of the seventh - Beltre popped up to open the seventh. Then Cruz hit his third home run of the year (estimated at 424 ft.), to tie him with Kinsler. The homer pushed the Texas advantage to three again. Red Sox manager took the ball from Buchholz and sent in reliever Dennys Reyes. Buchholz final line read 6.1 IP, five hits, four runs (all earned) and three strikeouts to two walks.
David Murphy singled off Reyes to put a man on first with one out. He was caught stealing to clear the pads. Napoli had his second hit of the game, a ground ball that Jed Lowrie couldn't quite handle for Boston. A Moreland strikeout ended the seventh with the Rangers leading 4-1.
Today's attendance is 46,326 and the series total was 144,828, the highest ever for a three-game opening series in Arlington. Additionally, the third home runs from Kinsler and Cruz made them the first teammates in MLB history to homer in their first three games of a season.
Top of the eighth - Darren Oliver came in to replace Harrison. Harrison's final line read 7 IP, five hits, one earned run and eight strikeouts to two walks. Pedroia flied out before an Adrian Gonzalez groundout. Youkilis was called out on strikes to end the top of the eighth. Rangers lead 4-1.
Bottom of the eighth - Jonathan Papelbon came in for Boston. Blanco led off with a double for Texas. Papelbon hit Kinsler with a pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs. Michael Young followed with his first RBI of the year with a double to deep left-center, bringing in Blanco. Rangers lead 5-1, with runners on second and third and no outs.
Papelbon intentionally walked Hamilton to load the bases. We saw the same thing last night, and Beltre responded with a grand slam. No such luck today, as Papelbon struck out the Texas third baseman with a 96-mph fastball. He then got Cruz swinging on an 82-mph slider. Murphy fouled off the first two, before Papelbon got out of the huge jam with a strikeout on a 96-mph fastball. The Rangers could only get one run, and lead 5-1 headed to the possible final frame.
Top of the ninth - Neftali Feliz is in to close for Texas. Feliz got David Ortiz to fly out to center field, then Lowrie did the same. Crawford grounded out to end the game.
That's it for today's live coverage! Texas sweeps the Sox, winning 5-1 today. Check in later this afternoon for postgame coverage, and tomorrow night for the first game vs. Seattle.