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MLB: Red Sox look to generate offense in four-game set vs. Rangers

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Three runs in two games were enough for the Boston Red Sox to sweep the New York Mets. But manager Alex Cora knows such a minimalistic approach probably isn’t sustainable over an entire season.

The Red Sox will look to generate more offense Thursday night, when they continue a road trip by visiting the Texas Rangers in the opener of a four-game series.

Left-hander Martin Perez (0-1, 5.71 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Red Sox against right-hander Kyle Gibson (2-0, 2.30).

Nick Pivetta and a trio of relievers made Christian Vazquez’s second-inning RBI double stand up Wednesday night, when the Red Sox edged Jacob deGrom and the Mets, 1-0. The host Rangers almost overcame a four-run first-inning deficit Wednesday before falling to the Los Angeles Angels, 4-3.

The 1-0 win was the first for the Red Sox since a victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 7, 2019 and gave them back-to-back wins in games in which they scored two or fewer runs for the first time since May 13-14, 2015, when Boston beat the Oakland Athletics 2-0 and edged the Seattle Mariners 2-1.

The win also improved the Red Sox, whose 24-36 record during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season was the third-worst record in the American League, to an AL East-leading 16-9.

“I told Xander (Bogaerts) before the game that (if) we beat (deGrom), we might be No. 1 in the nation in the upcoming days,” Cora said Wednesday night. “It’s just silly stuff, but they know where they’re at, they know what they’re doing.”

Of course, winning by scoring one or two runs isn’t the most fruitful formula. The Red Sox haven’t won three straight games in which they scored two runs or fewer since June 16-18, 2014 on their way to a last-place finish.

“We have room to improve,” Cora said. “There’s a lot of stuff that we have to keep going.”

The Rangers knew they’d need more than two runs before even stepping to the plate Wednesday night. But Texas was left lamenting what could have been after scoring once in the first and twice in the second to chase Angels starter Alex Cobb.

The Rangers didn’t get another runner into scoring position until the eighth, when they had runners at the corners with two outs before Adolis Garcia struck out.

“That’s the game. We’ve got to find a way to win,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “We had plenty of opportunities. We had seven innings to score a run. I kind of felt like we had the momentum, especially after that second inning.”

Perez didn’t factor into the decision in his most recent start last Friday, when he gave up two runs over 3 2/3 innings in the Red Sox’s 6-5 win. Gibson continued surging last Saturday, when he didn’t factor into the decision after allowing one run over six innings in the Rangers’ 2-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. He has surrendered just three runs (two earned) in 27 innings over his last four starts.

Perez is 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA in two career starts against the Rangers, for whom he pitched from 2012 through 2018. Gibson is 2-4 with a 3.63 ERA in seven starts against the Red Sox.

–Field Level Media

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