BOSTON – They blew leads of 3-0 and 9-5 but, in the end, that didn’t matter.
The Texas Rangers found a way to win, as Adrian Beltre drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth and Joe Nathan converted his second save in as many days in a 10-9 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Texas maintains at least a 5 1/2-game lead over Oakland and a six-game lead over Anaheim.
With the game tied 9-9 going to the ninth, Elvis Andrus drew a walk and moved to third on a single by Josh Hamilton. He scored on Beltre’s deep fly ball to center. Nelson Cruz followed and roped a deep fly ball down the left-field line that was called – and upheld – as a foul ball.
Nathan gave up a one-out double to Cody Ross in the ninth, but struck out Will Middlebrooks and Ryan Lavarnway to end the game.
The Rangers overcame a poor start by Matt Harrison, who had his second shortest outing of the season. He gave up five runs (four earned) on eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings.
But Red Sox starter Josh Beckett wasn’t any better than Harrison. In fact, he was worse. The Rangers scored eight runs off him, including home runs by Mitch Moreland, Hamilton and Geovany Soto.
Soto’s two-run blast came in the sixth, and gave the Rangers 8-5 lead. At the time Oswalt was pitching well, retiring the first four batters he faced.
Texas then extended its lead to 9-5 on a solo shot by Cruz in the seventh, and sent Oswalt out for a third inning of work. It didn’t go well.
Oswalt didn’t retire a batter and allowed four runs, including a game-tying, three-run homer to Will Middlebrooks.
Alexi Ogando relieved Oswalt, and retired the next six batters over two perfect innings.
-- Drew Davison