Final

Series: Game 1 of 4

Boston leads 1-0 (as of 6/9)

Game 1: Friday, June 9
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Game 2: Saturday, June 10
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Boston4
Game 3: Saturday, June 10
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Boston
Game 3: Sunday, June 11
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Game 4: Sunday, June 11
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Rangers 3

(32-28, 17-12 away)

Red Sox 4

(35-23, 17-8 home)

7:05 PM ET, June 9, 2006

Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts 

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TEX 002000010 3 8 1
BOS 30000001 - 4 10 0

W: J. Papelbon (1-1)

L: F. Cordero (5-4)

Papelbon's save streak ends as Red Sox beat Texas

BOSTON (AP) -- Jonathan Papelbon got another chance right away and did what he's been doing all season.

The rookie reliever recovered from his first blown save of the season with three strikeouts in the ninth inning to get the win, and Trot Nixon went 4-for-4 with a three-run homer as the Boston Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 4-3 on Friday night.

After the Rangers' tied it on Hank Blalock's RBI single off Papelbon in the eighth, Mike Lowell's sacrifice fly pushed Boston back in front in the bottom of the inning.

This time, Papelbon, who converted the first 20 save opportunities since he took over the closer's role this season, made sure he finished the job. He gave up a two-out single to Rod Barajas, but fanned Ian Kinsler to end it and lowered his ERA to a stunning 0.30.

"I took the ninth inning as a save opportunity even though it wasn't," said Papelbon, who pitched the ninth in a steady rain. "I knew it was all or nothing. It's a good lesson learned if you look at the way it turned out."

Coco Crisp went 3-for-4 with a double for the Red Sox, who played their first home game this month. Boston went 4-5 on its recent road trip.

"I guess statistically that's what it's considered," Boston manager Terry Francona said of the blown save, "but that's a pretty tough situation. The reason we got him is because Blalock is maybe one of the best fastball hitters in the league."

Craig Hansen gave up one-out singles to Gary Matthews and Michael Young in the eighth for Boston, and left with runners on first and third and two outs. Blalock then hit the game-tying single, a sinking liner to left-center.

`It was the first time I faced him," Blalock said of Papelbon. "He's got good life on his fastball."

Young hit a two-run homer for the AL West-leading Rangers.

Manny Ramirez opened the eighth with a walk against reliever Francisco Cordero (5-4) and moved to third on Nixon's single. Lowell followed with a fly to right. Kevin Youkilis then lined into an inning-ending double play.

Boston's Tim Wakefield, who has received the lowest run support of any starter in the majors this season, pitched seven strong innings, allowing two runs and four hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

"Unfortunately, the wins aren't in my column, but I feel like I've done my job as a starter to try and keep us in the game for a long period of time," Wakfield said. "The runs will come eventually.

Wakefield, 4-7 with a 3.93 ERA, had a number of easy outs, getting a combined nine by either soft popups or grounders.

"He definitely had the knuckleball working tonight," Texas DH Brad Wilkerson said. "He was keeping it down and it was dancing pretty good."

The Red Sox took a 3-0 lead in the first inning on Nixon's homer. Crisp and Mark Loretta opened the inning with singles. Vicente Padilla appeared to be working his way out of the jam by getting David Ortiz on a fly ball and striking out Ramirez, but Nixon homered into the Red Sox' bullpen.

Padilla gave up three runs and nine hits in seven innings with six strikeouts and one walk.

Texas cut it to 3-2 in the third on Young's two-run homer into the Monster seats after Matthews singled.

Game notes


It was Nixon's ninth career four-hit game, tying his career best. ... Rangers LF Kevin Mench was charged with an error when he picked up Crisp's fifth-inning single and had the ball slip out of his hand behind him when he was attempting to rush a throw to second. ... Ramirez had his 1,000th career walk in the eighth. ... After the game, the Red Sox optioned Hansen to Triple-A Pawtucket. They will recall highly touted LHP Jon Lester, who is scheduled to make his first major league start in the opener of a day-night doubleheader Saturday. ... Rain was expected to reach the Boston area around 7 p.m. but didn't start until the eighth inning. ... DeRosa made a nifty hesitation slide, reaching in with his right hand past Loretta's glove for his double.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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