BOSTON — Wandy Rodriguez's plan worked very well. He simply kept Boston's struggling hitters confused.
Rodriguez pitched 6 2-3 solid innings, Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer and drove in two runs, and the Texas Rangers beat the Red Sox and their listless offense 3-1 on Thursday night.
"Really nice pitching by Wandy tonight," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Back to what we've seen except for the last outing — ability to move the fastball in and out. The breaking ball — the hard and soft breaking ball to keep the hitters off balance."
Rodriguez (2-2) allowed one run and four hits, struck out five and walked two after not getting out of the fifth inning in his previous start, a loss to Cleveland last Friday when he gave up eight hits and five runs.
Against a team that came in struggling for offense, Rodriguez knew he just had to mix things up.
"That's the reason I used my two-seamer a lot," he said of getting 12 outs via groundballs. "I used more of my two-seamer."
Moreland added two singles for the Rangers, who won for the third time in four games to capture the series after losing the opener.
Shawn Tolleson got three outs for the save after earning the first of his career Wednesday.
Clay Buchholz (2-5) gave up three runs — two earned — and five hits in 7 2-3 innings.
David Ortiz drove in Boston's run, tying Fred McGriff for 43rd on the career list with his 1,550th RBI. Boston, which came in with the AL's second-worst batting average and ranked 12th in runs scored, hasn't scored more than four runs in nine straight games.
When Ortiz was asked if he had any answers for the offensive struggles, he said: "No answers. We just ain't hitting — period," before walking away.
Pablo Sandoval felt the team just needs to relax.
"We don't need to change anything," he said. "Just need to keep doing the things we are doing. We have a great team in here."
The Rangers jumped ahead 2-0 in the first. Shin-Soo Choo and Delino DeShields opened with singles and advanced on Prince Fielder's flyball to the right-field warning track. Choo scored on Moreland's fielder's choice grounder and DeShields scored on the same play when shortstop Xander Bogaerts dropped the ball for an error attempting to take it out of his glove to complete a double play.
Moreland's homer into the first row of Green Monster seats made it 3-0 in the fourth.
Ortiz's run-scoring grounder cut it to 3-1 in the bottom of the inning. The Red Sox had runners on second and third with no outs, but didn't get a hit.
Rodriguez made a nice play on Hanley Ramirez's slow grounder in front of the plate, collecting it with his glove and shoveling it back quickly without taking it out to cut down Dustin Pedroia at the plate in the fourth.
"I don't know why he's coming," Rodriguez said.
GET OUT OF THE WAY
Bogaerts was hit by a groundball by Daniel Nava while running to second in the fifth. By rule, he was out on the play and Nava was credited with a single.
"In one of those stretches where if there is an oddity that is going to go against us, it is happening right now," manager John Farrell said.
Rangers: OF Josh Hamilton joined Triple-A Round Rock to continue his rehab for at least three days.
Red Sox: RF Shane Victorino was in the original starting lineup, but had to be scratched with a sore left calf. ... Farrell said 3B Sandoval "was much improved today. There's still some soreness there" so they didn't start him. He pinch hit and struck out in the eighth. He was hit by a pitch on the side of the left knee on Tuesday. ... Farrell also said RHP Joe Kelly's right wrist was fine after his was hit by grounder in Wednesday's start. Kelly had it wrapped after the game.
Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis (3-2, 3.06 ERA) is scheduled to start the opener of a three-game series in New York on Friday against Yankees RHP Michael Pineda (5-1, 3.31).
Red Sox: Rick Porcello (4-2, 4.26 ERA) is slated to start Friday against Los Angeles Angels' RHP Garrett Richards (3-2, 2.29). Porcello is 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA in his last five starts.
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