Mike Napoli

Kimbrel blows save but Red Sox rally in 11th for fifth straight win, 7-5


Kimbrel blows save but Red Sox rally in 11th for fifth straight win, 7-5

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Dustin Pedroia wasn't given the opportunity to drive in another run for the Boston Red Sox in the 11th inning. Andrew Benintendi took care of that.

Benintendi blooped a two-run single over a drawn-in infield after Pedroia was intentionally walked to load the bases, and the Red Sox beat Texas 7-5 on Monday night for their AL-best fifth straight victory.

"Trying to get something to the outfield. Basically anything but a ground ball," said Benintendi, who had entered the game as a pinch hitter in the ninth. "Once Mookie (Betts) hit that double, I figured that's what they'd do."

Boston needed extra innings after Mike Napoli led off the Rangers ninth with a homer against All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel, who had blown only one of his previous 24 save opportunities.

After Ernesto Frieri (0-1) gave up a one-out walk in the 11th to No. 9 hitter Tzu-Wei Lin and the double by Betts - who will now be an outfield starter in the All-Star Game - the Rangers took the bat out of the hands of Pedroia, who already had three hits and four RBIs, and played their infielders in.

Benintendi's ball landed just beyond the infield dirt in short left.

"The likelihood of turning a double play there is very slim," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Obviously you're in a tough situation. I don't know that there's anything in the book that you say play for a bloop."

Heath Hembree (1-2), the sixth Boston pitcher, retired all six batters he faced over the last two innings.

Pedroia's second two-run single capped a tiebreaking sixth , when the AL East-leading Red Sox scored three unearned runs. The bases were loaded when Pedroia got to the plate, but just-entered reliever Tony Barnette threw a wild pitch before Pedroia lined a two-out shot to center for a 5-2 lead.

Texas then scored in three consecutive at-bats, the last when Napoli homered for the third time in four games. His .193 batting average is the lowest among AL qualifiers, but 17 of his 46 hits are homers.

Carlos Gomez hit his 11th homer in the Texas seventh, and Shin-Soo Choo led off the eighth with a double before scoring on Nomar Mazara's single.

The Red Sox had also loaded the bases with two outs in the second, part of 36 pitches by Texas starter Martin Perez that inning, to set up Pedroia's first two-run single that put them ahead 2-1.

Rougned Odor's 15th homer for Texas was a solo shot in the fourth tied the game.


Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello had his 15th consecutive start going at least six innings, the longest active streak in the majors. Hard-throwing reliever Joe Kelly made his 23rd consecutive appearance without allowing a run, another MLB-best streak. Kelly gave up Mazara's RBI single in the eighth, but Choo had reached against Robby Scott, who got charged with that run.


Along with the big offensive night, Pedroia had a couple of standout defensive plays late. Gomez made a wide turn at first on a wild throw in the ninth, but Pedroia made a barehanded grab of the ricochet and threw while falling down to get Gomez out trying to get back to the base. In the 10th, Pedroia made a diving stop on Andrus' grounder before making an over-the-shoulder grab of Delino DeShields' popup to short right.


Betts will take over as an AL All-Star starter in place of Mike Trout, the AL MVP from the Los Angeles Angels who is rehabilitating his left thumb. ... Rangers SS Elvis Andrus and Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts are among five candidates in online voting to take the last spot on the AL All-Star roster.


Jason Grilli struck out two while pitching a perfect eighth the day the 40-year-old right-hander joined the Rangers after a trade from Toronto.


Red Sox: Bogaerts missed his second consecutive game because of tightness in his groin, though he did take some BP in the cage and did some agility work. Manager John Farrell believes he will play Tuesday.

Rangers: RHP Keone Kela went on the 10-day DL because of right shoulder soreness. Banister said Kela is a "tough kid" who wanted to grind through it. The Rangers want the reliever to have extended time off through the All-Star break to heal.


Former AL Cy Young winner David Price (3-2, 4.61 ERA) pitches for the Red Sox, while four-time AL All-Star Yu Darvish (6-6, 3.11) goes for the Rangers. In two home starts against the Red Sox, Darvish is 1-0 with a 1.72 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 15 2-3 innings.

Napoli: Red Sox and his agent only had 'small talk' about reunion

Napoli: Red Sox and his agent only had 'small talk' about reunion

BOSTON -- Of course, the Rangers' Mike Napoli didn't mind the idea of replacing David Ortiz. He loved playing in Boston.

There just was never much chatter that way last offseason, when Napoli was a free agent after his Indians took the Cubs to seven games in the World Series.

"I think my agent had maybe a small talk or something [with the Red Sox], but I don't think it ever would have happened," Napoli said Tuesday afternoon as he returned to Fenway Park with Texas. "I mean, don't get me wrong, I would have loved to come back. But, I mean, it all worked out. I'm glad to be where I'm at now. Because I knew everybody here [with the Rangers]. I didn't have to start over again."

Napoli played with the Rangers in 2011 and '12, and was traded by the Sox to Texas for the last few months of the 2015 season.

He was hopeful the Sox -- his team from 2013 to midseason 2015 -- would be among the clubs to come calling last winter.

"Oh, yeah," he said.

But he wasn't optimistic it was going to happen. And it didn't.

"To be honest with you . . . Cleveland was my first priority," he said. "I just had a World Series run [with the Indians] and we didn't win it. And then Texas was there [in the bidding, along with] Minnesota."

The Rangers wound up giving Napoli, 35, a one-year deal for 8.5 million with an $11 million club option for next season or a $2.5 million buyout. He's hitting just .188 entering Tuesday, a subpar figure, but has 10 home runs.

"We started off pretty slow, but winning 10 straight will help," Napoli said of the Rangers' recent tear. "[Winning] 11 of 12, we've been playing better. I think we kind of lost track of who we are. We got some guys struggling, still trying to find themselves and kind of got away from doing it together as a team, but we got back to doing that. It's been going pretty well."

Part of the World Series championship team of four years ago, Napoli loved being in Boston in 2013, and he enjoys being back now.

"What we were able to do in 2013, obviously, it's something I'l never forget and something I cherish," Napoli said. "I love coming back here to play."

When it was noted there's been so much turmoil since Napoli left -- the talk of Tuesday was manager John Farrell's job security -- he was unsurprised.

"You got to have thick skin to play here," Napoli said. "You're expected to win a championship every single year. But that's what I loved about playing here, is that people were on you. For me, I loved it. A lot of people probably couldn't do it.

"I knew it in my heart that I went out there and I played as hard as I possibly could every single time . . . I know you're not going to be perfect and live up to everyone."