Victorino, Lester lift Red Sox over Rangers, 8-3


May 10, 2014; Boston Red Sox right fielder

Shane Victorino

singles to drive in a run in the second inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports).

The Boston Red Sox combined timely hitting with a solid pitching performance to defeat the Texas Rangers 8-3 yesterday at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.

The win evened the Red Sox record to 18-18 and kept the team just three games out of first place in the American League East standings.

The Red Sox produced 11 hits a night after mustering only one hit ― with two outs in the ninth inning ― in a shutout by Texas ace Yu Darvish.

Shane Victorino led the way with three hits and four RBI. David Ortiz hit a home run and a double and scored twice. Dustin Pedroia collected two hits and two walks. Jackie Bradley Jr. had two hits and scored two runs. The team went 4-8 with runners in scoring position.

Jon Lester (4-4, 2.75) pitched seven innings for the win. He gave up three runs on four hits, walking three and striking out eight. Junichi Tazawa, Burke Badenhop and Andrew Miller combined to pitch two scoreless innings. Each recorded one strikeout.

The Rangers (19-18) had seven hits, including two by Elvis Andrus, who had four hits against the Red Sox the night before.

Lester was perfect over the first three innings before surrendering two runs in the fourth and another in the fifth. He retired the final seven batters he faced, ending his night with 103 pitches.

The Red Sox got on the board in the second inning when Victorino singled in Will Middlebrooks from third base. On the same play, Bradley was thrown out at home by Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin, attempting to score from second.

In the third inning, Ortiz led off and hit the first pitch from Rangers starter Martin Perez (4-3, 4.38), who took the loss, into the right field stands for his seventh home run of the season and 438th of his career, tying him for 40th all-time with Andre Dawson and Jason Giambi. He has 380 home runs with the Red Sox, just two behind Jim Rice for third place in team history.

Ortiz also had a double down the right field line in the four-run fourth inning. Bradley had a one-out single to start the rally and aggressively took third base on a soft single to center field by Pedroia, who alertly took second base on the throw to third.

Victorino followed with a single just over the heads of the drawn-in infielders to score two runs. The double by Ortiz moved Victorino to third. Mike Napoli then struck out but Jonny Gomes followed with a two-run single to left field to stake the Red Sox and Lester to a 6-0 lead.

The Red Sox added two runs in the eighth inning. Rangers reliever Justin Germano hit Will Middlebrooks with a pitch to get things started. Middlebrooks moved to second base on a hit by Bradley, then scored on a single by Pedroia. Victorino followed with a sacrifice fly to left field to score Bradley from third base for his fourth RBI and the game’s final run.

Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux was ejected, mysteriously, by the first base umpire in the top of the eighth inning after Middlebrooks was hit by the pitch. In the bottom of the frame, Texas Manager Ron Washington failed in a challenge to overturn an out called on Adrian Beltre at first base.

The Red Sox send Texas native John Lackey (4-2, 3.72) to the mound at 3:05 p.m. today against Robbie Ross (1-3, 4.74) to conclude the three-game series.