(Sports Network) - Fresh off a thrilling come-from-behind extra-inning extravaganza, the Texas Rangers will try to kick the Boston Red Sox while they are down when the two teams do battle again this evening in the middle matchup of a three-game set at Rangers Ballpark at Arlington.
In last night's opener, Nelson Cruz hit Tim Wakefield's first pitch in the bottom of the 11th inning over the wall in left field, giving the Rangers an incredible 10-9 win over the Red Sox.
Although Cruz hit the winning homer, Josh Hamilton was the star for the Rangers, as he went 4-for-5 with a homer, scored four times and made three great catches in the outfield. That included robbing Jed Lowrie of a possible home run in the sixth inning.
Playing their first game since Major League Baseball's approval of the sale of the franchise from Tom Hicks to a group led by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan, the Rangers gave their new ownership group plenty of cheer. They rallied from an 8-2 deficit and finished with 17 hits, including home runs from Michael Young and Mitch Moreland.
The opener of this series proved to be a hitting barrage, with the Red Sox clubbing five homers -- including two from J.D. Drew. Lowrie, David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre also went deep, but Boston dropped its second in a row.
Both starters didn't last long. Josh Beckett gave up 10 hits and six runs over five innings for Boston, while Texas' Tommy Hunter allowed six hits, including consecutive homers to Ortiz, Beltre and Drew to start Boston's seven-run fourth inning. He was replaced after Drew's 15th blast of the season.
The gritty play of the AL West-leading Rangers helped them to tie the game in the eighth. Down 9-8, Hamilton doubled to right field with two outs. Vladimir Guerrero then hit a roller up the middle, and the throw to first base was barely late as he slid in head-first and was safe. Hamilton chugged around third and barely made it home as the throw from first baseman Mike Lowell was a tad late.
Darren O'Day (4-2) pitched the 11th inning to get the win and stretched his club-record scoreless appearance streak to 29 games. He has worked 26 1/3 straight shutout frames and hasn't been scored upon since June 1 against the White Sox.
Wakefield (3-9) had his first pitch -- a knuckleball -- crushed by Cruz, who ended with two RBI on the night. It was his 16th homer of the season.
Tonight the Red Sox will look for revenge and have the perfect player on the mound to help out with that task in Jon Lester. The southpaw snapped a personal four-game slide the last time he took the hill, as he led the Red Sox to a 2-1 win over the New York Yankees on Monday.
In the victory Lester tossed 6 1/3 shutout innings against the Bronx Bombers while scattering just four hits and striking out six batters.
Earlier this season the Rangers scored four runs -- three earned -- against the hard throwing lefty. In that meeting, which was a loss for Lester, the Red Sox hurler scattered nine hits in eight innings and struck out six batters.
In his career against Texas, Lester is 2-1 with a 3.51 earned run average in six starts.
The Rangers will counter with Colby Lewis, who is looking for his first win since July 16. The last time right-hander was on the bump he battled hard against the Athletics on Sunday, holding Oakland to just one run on three hits in six innings. While on the mound Lewis walked three, but also struck out seven.
The veteran hurler has pitched well in Arlington this season, posting a 5-2 ledger with a 3.14 earned run average in nine starts.
Oddly enough the last win for Lewis came against Boston, as he helped the Rangers to an 8-4 victory on July 16. In the win, Lewis surrendered three runs on four hits in just five innings, but also struck out seven batters.
The Rangers have won five of eight over the Red Sox this year and were victorious in five of six meetings at home last season over Boston.