BOSTON (AP) A day after the Red Sox used six relievers in a loss to the Texas Rangers, Boston manager Alex Cora was hoping for a long outing from emerging ace Brayan Bello to give the bullpen a break.
It didn't look as if he was going to get his wish.
The Rangers put runners on second and third in the first inning. They had two men on again in the second. It wasn’t until the fourth that Bello retired the side in order.
But the 24-year-old right-hander took a shutout into the sixth and lasted seven full innings to help the Red Sox beat the powerful but slumping Rangers 4-2 on Wednesday night.
“He’s good, man. He’s really good. And without his best stuff, he went seven,” Cora said. “At one point he had 50 pitches and I was like, ’Well, we’re going five today.' And then he goes seven. His stuff wasn’t great, command wasn’t great. But to do that against that lineup, that’s impressive."
One outing after taking a no-hitter into the eighth, Bello (6-5) started slowly but posted his fifth straight start of at least six innings. In all, he allowed two runs on eight hits in seven innings, striking out three and walking none.
“You go into the game with a plan, but it doesn’t always work that way and you have to be able to adjust on the fly,” Bello said through a translator. “And that’s been something that I’ve been able to do this year. And and I’m glad that things are working out that way.”
Bello shut out the Rangers for 5 1/3 innings before Adolis Garcia cleared the bullpen wall in right to make it 3-2. It was the first homer he had allowed in seven starts since May 23.
Bello has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 10 of his last 11 starts and has a 2.35 ERA in his last 12. He tied a career high with 107 pitches, needing to get out of trouble in each of the first three innings.
“I threw a lot of pitches the first couple of innings so I just was trying to to adjust something in my mechanics,” Bello said. “After that I just tried to pound the strike zone and get quick outs, and that’s why I was able to go deep into the game today.”
Justin Turner had two hits and a pair of RBIs, and Jarren Duran led off the third straight game by reaching on a hit and then scoring. Kenley Jansen, Boston’s only All-Star selection, pitched the ninth for his 18th save to give the Red Sox their fourth win in five games.
Corey Seager had three hits for the Rangers, who lead the majors in runs, hits and batting average; they will send six players to next week's All-Star game. Garcia celebrated being selected for the Home Run Derby by hitting one that counted, a two-run shot in the sixth that made it 3-2.
But those were the only runs against Bello, who took a no-hitter into the eighth against the Marlins in his last start.
“Kind of got away from him there in the first inning threw a lot of pitches, but then you see what he did after that,” Turner said. “Just to see him kind of hone it in, and start pitching and not trying to just stuff it out there. His last six, seven starts have been outstanding for us.”
Jon Gray (6-5) allowed four runs – three earned – on nine hits and three walks in six innings. The Rangers, who have spent all but one day this season in first place in the AL West, have lost eight of 12.
The Fenway Park fire alarm sounded in the sixth inning for about 10 minutes. The team announced that the cause of the alarm was investigated and no further action was necessary.
Red Sox RHP Wyatt Mills had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
The teams finish up the three-game series Thursday, when former Boston RHP Nathan Eovaldi (10-3) faces Red Sox RHP Kutter Crawford (3-4).
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