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Closing Time: Mike Napoli, Rangers hand Red Sox another loss

04.18.12 at 10:13 pm ET
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Mike Napoli ruined the night for the Red Sox and Josh Beckett Wednesday night.

The Texas catcher’s two-run home run in the fourth inning gave his team the lead for good on the way to the Rangers’ 6-3 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

The defeat handed Beckett his second loss of the season even though the Sox’ starter turned in a strong performance, allowing the three runs over seven innings. The starter retired the final 12 batters he faced, finishing up at 110 pitches.

Napoli capped his night with a two-run double against Red Sox reliever Franklin Morales in the eighth inning, giving the Rangers a four-run lead. The catcher is batting .358 with 10 homers and 24 RBI in 20 games against the Red Sox since the start of 2010.

The game ended when Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s line-drive with runners on first and third  was caught by first baseman Brandon Snyder, who proceeded to double up Ryan Sweeney, who was running on the play.

It marked the eighth time in the last 10 meetings at Fenway between the teams that Red Sox have come out on the short end, having been out-scored by a combined 76-32.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ eighth loss of the season:

WHAT WENT WRONG

– Napoli continued his success at Fenway Park, taking Beckett over the left field wall for a two-run homer in the fourth inning. It was just the sixth hit against Beckett for the Texas catcher, with four of them clearing the fence. Hit was the ninth homer for Napoli at Fenway, who entered the game with a 1.023 at the home of the Red Sox.

– Mike Aviles was picked off for the second time this season. This time coming after the shortstop had led off the third inning with a single. Aviles did swipe his first bag of the season (in his first attempt) in the first inning.

– After Kelly Shoppach got into scoring position via a one-out double, representing the game-tying run, Darnell McDonald grounded to shortstop while Nick Punto — who was pinch-hitting for Jason Repko — struck out.

– Morales had his roughest outing of the season, allowing three runs on two hits and three walks in 1/3 innings.

– The Red Sox weren’t able to do much damage at all against Texas starter Derek Holland, who allowed two runs on four hits over seven inning, striking out seven and walking three. Holland, who finished throwing 102 pitches, dropped his ERA to 3.10.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Kevin Youkilis hit his first home run of 2011, a two-run blast over the center field portion of the left field wall. It was Youkilis’ first home run since August 14, 2011.

– Darnell McDonald made a big defensive play in the third inning, gunning down Elvis Andrus, who was trying to stretch his line-drive off the left field wall into a double. It limited the damage in what became a one-run frame for the visitors.

– Beckett’s velocity was ratcheted up a tick, with the starter’s fastball living at 93 mph.

– For just the second time in Aviles’ career he drew two walks.

Matt Albers came on for Morales in the eighth inning, inducing an inning-ending double play off the bat of Brandon Snyder. Albers also picked off Ian Kinsler in the ninth.

– Ryan Sweeney came through in the ninth inning again, notching an RBI single. The outfielder, who came in as a pinch-hitter for McDonald, is now 5-for-5 this season in the ninth.

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