Blalock, Rangers shut out BoSox in rain-shortened win

BOSTON (AP) -- Kameron Loe's first career shutout is likely to be
the easiest one he ever gets.

"I don't know if they have a column for cheap shutouts, but
I'll take it," the Texas Rangers right-hander said after beating
the Boston Red Sox 6-0 Friday night in a game shortened to 5½
innings by rain. "I was trying to think about making pitches
instead of the weather."

Hank Blalock was 2-for-3 with a homer, and he also made some
run-saving plays at third base despite a field filled with puddles
field and slick ball. With runners on second and third in the
fourth, he dived to his right to field Wily Mo Pena's chopper on
the line, popped up, spun around and threw to first in time.

"I can't tell you how difficult it is to throw a baseball in
those conditions," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "He said
he threw a 'slimeball' over there to first base."

Loe (2-3) allowed five hits and a walk, striking out four before
the game was called in the bottom of the sixth with a 2-2 count on
leadoff hitter David Ortiz. Matt Clement (3-3) gave up four runs
and six hits, walking two and striking out four in five innings.

"It was tough, but at the same time he did a great job,"
Clement said of his counterpart. "He still got the job done and
made a couple of huge pitches when he was in trouble. ... No
excuses from him."

The Red Sox put runners on second and third in the third and
fourth innings, both times with one out. But Loe pitched out of it
with two groundouts each time, then got the side in order in the

"We didn't get much going and, when we did, Loe's two-seam
sinker was really effective," Boston manager Terry Francona said.
"As you can see, our guys were beating the ball into the ground,
and that's exactly how he has success."

Fog enveloped the stadium in the second inning and, in the
third, a heavy rain began to fall. After Clement's third pitch to
Brad Wilkerson in the fourth, the grounds crew ran on the field to
put a drying compound on the mound and home plate area.

Head groundskeeper Dave Mellor was out to update the umpiring
crew on the weather during every half inning. But the game kept
going until the umpires signaled for the tarp at 9:16 p.m.; it was
called at 10:04.

Rain is expected to plague the entire three-game homestand.

Clement last pitched on May 4, and his start was pushed back
because of a rainout when the Red Sox decided to keep the rest of
the rotation on its regular days. He gave up Blalock's homer to
lead off the second, then Texas scored three in the third.

Rod Barajas led off with a double and Gary Matthews Jr. singled
to make it 2-0. Two outs later, Phil Nevin doubled in a run and
Blalock singled in another before Clement got Kevin Mench on a
popup to second to end the inning.

The Rangers added two in the sixth off Mike Holtz, who hit
Wilkerson to lead off the inning and then walked Barajas. They both
scored on Matthews' triple.
Game Notes
Boston C Jason Varitek's fourth-inning double snapped an
0-for-14 slump. ... Blalock extended his hitting streak to nine
games. ... Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo made his first road
trip with the team since surgery for prostate cancer. As scheduled,
he worked batting practice but not the game. ... Francona said CF
Coco Crisp's recovery from a broken finger has been delayed because
of an undisclosed illness.