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Lee Looks For First Rangers Win Against Red Sox

(Sports Network) - Cliff Lee is hoping for a better showing in his second start for Texas, as the Rangers and Boston Red Sox continue a four-game series tonight at Fenway Park.

Lee, who was acquired on July 9th in a six-player deal with Seattle, made his debut for Texas last Saturday in a 6-1 defeat at home to Baltimore. In that game, the left-hander surrendered six runs and a season-high three homers, while going the distance. It marked his AL-best sixth complete game of the year, but the result snapped a personal four-game win streak.

The 2008 AL Cy Young award winner has made nine career starts against Boston, going 2-4 with a 4.39 ERA. This will be his first appearance of the season against the Red Sox.

Countering for Boston will be John Lackey, who is trying to avoid dropping three consecutive starts for the first time since August 4-14, 2006. The right-hander has yet to live up to expectations and was most recently tagged for seven earned runs in 4 2/3 innings of a 9-5 loss at Toronto on July 10th. He gave up eight hits, while walking a season-high six batters

The veteran hasn't enjoyed facing Texas much in his career either, boasting an 11-12 record with a 5.87 ERA over 32 starts.

Lackey will need to be on top of his game in order to slow down the hot- hitting Rangers, who have posted 15 runs and 24 hits in winning the first two games of this series.

Last night, Bengie Molina hit for the cycle and clubbed a tie-breaking grand slam in the fifth inning, boosting the Rangers to an 8-4 win over the Red Sox in the continuation of a four-game series.

Molina singled in the second inning, doubled in the fourth, and after homering in the fifth, legged out just his sixth career triple in the eighth. It was the fifth cycle in Texas Rangers history. Ian Kinsler had one April 15, 2009.

Molina, who was acquired from San Francisco earlier this month, also became the first major league catcher to hit for the cycle since Chad Moeller for Milwaukee vs. Cincinnati on April 27, 2004.

The normally slow-footed Molina left the game with tightness in his right quadriceps shortly after the triple and was replaced by pinch-runner Joaquin Arias.

Colby Lewis (9-5) fanned seven batters over five innings to win for the fifth time in his last six decisions. He yielded four hits and three runs.

Felix Doubront (1-2) permitted seven hits and four runs -- two earned -- over 4 2/3 frames.

"He's got a great aptitude for pitching," said Boston manager Terry Francona of his starting pitcher. "The feel for his breaking ball wasn't there early. He was pretty much just fastball early and then he got the cutter going."

Adrian Beltre homered and J.D. Drew knocked in two runs, but the Red Sox lost for the second straight night. Kevin Youkilis had three hits and scored once, as Boston was beaten for the seventh time in nine contests.

Boston did take two of three bouts from the Rangers in that April series and have won in 11 of the past 16 meetings between the teams held in Beantown.


Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.