BOSTON — The teams with the two best records in the American League opened a three-game series Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
It was a blowout.
The Red Sox, looking to avenge a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rangers in Texas last month, hammered out 13 extra-bases hits, 19 hits overall, and cruised to a 17-5 victory.
Boston was outscored 16-4 over three days in Texas, but it turned that around in one night, scoring in each of the first seven innings and failing to score only when Rangers left fielder David Murphy pitched a scoreless, one-hit eighth.
Jackie Bradley Jr. (his first in the majors), Stephen Drew (No. 5), Mike Carp (No. 4) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (No. 6) all homered, and David Ortiz drove in three runs in the first two innings with a double and triple to lead the offense in front of Ryan Dempster.
Winning for the first time in six starts, Dempster (3-6) yielded homers to Jeff Baker (No. 5) and Nelson Cruz (No. 13) but was ahead 9-0 when Baker homered in the fourth inning.
Dempster, who finished last season with Texas, pitched seven innings of three-run ball for the rocking-chair win.
The first-place Red Sox, winners of three straight and four of their last five, chased rookie Justin Grimm (5-4) after 1 2/3 innings. Grimm, who came in getting more offensive support than any pitcher in baseball, saw a three-game personal winning streak grind to an abrupt halt. He was once drafted by the Red Sox, but he didn’t sign.
The Red Sox had six extra-base hits in the second inning.
Drew, slumping coming in, had four hits, two RBIs and three runs. Carp had three hits and a walk in the first five innings. Bradley and Carp also drove in three runs apiece. Daniel Nava had three hits, scored four runs and drove in another, and Saltalamacchia had three hits.
Carp was ejected in the eighth inning after taking a called third strike from Murphy, who started the game in left field and finished as the fifth non-pitcher ever to pitch for Texas.
Mitch Moreland (No. 12) hit a meaningless two-run homer in the eighth for Texas, which got three hits from A.J. Pierzynski.
The fun started for the Red Sox in the bottom of the first. Nava led off with a walk, and Carp singled him to second. Dustin Pedroia struck out, but Ortiz doubled off the wall in left to make it 1-0. The bases were loaded when Saltalamacchia’s groundout produced a 2-0 lead in a 34-pitch inning.
That was just a warmup for the second.
Jose Iglesias led with a double and rode home ahead of Bradley’s crushed homer, over the Red Sox bullpen (someone in the ’pen traded for the ball). Nava singled and Carp walked, and the runners stayed put as Pedroia flied out. Ortiz, who failed to get a triple last season after having one each of the previous five seasons, then ripped his triple to right-center to score a pair.
Mike Napoli’s sacrifice fly got Ortiz home, and Saltalamacchia’s wall doubled meant the end for Grimm. Drew (7-for-45 with 12 strikeouts coming in) then greeted Michael Kirkman with a double, and it was 8-0.
The Sox made it 9-0 in the third when Nava doubled and scored on Carp’s single.
With two outs in the fourth, Pierzynski doubled and scored ahead of Baker’s fifth homer of the season.
Drew greeted Joe Ortiz with a home run, his second in three games, to start the bottom of the fourth. Carp connected leading off the fifth, Boston’s 10th extra-base hit of the game.