A late lineup addition made the biggest difference for the Red Sox.
Eric Hinske had a bases-loaded triple and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double as Boston's bats came alive in a 7-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Monday night.
Hitting just .119 with runners in scoring position while scoring only eight runs in their previous four games, the Red Sox were searching for a key hit. Hinske, inserted into the lineup after Kevin Youkilis was scratched was a sore left quadriceps during batting practice, provided the key drive.
When Hinske arrived at the ballpark, he didn't know he'd be starting.
"I was told during batting practice," he said. "I just tried to get prepared as I always do."
With the Red Sox ahead 4-3 in the fifth, Hinske sent a drive over center fielder Kenny Lofton, and that ball bounced onto the track and short-hopped the wall.
"It was a great swing, but from where I was sitting, we didn't see the ball come down right away," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "It was three big runs, obviously. It's nice to be rewarded for a good swing."
Boston salvaged a split of the four-game series after scoring seven runs in the first three games against Texas, which has the second-worst ERA in the major leagues. Coming into the series, the Red Sox had been swept in a three-game series at Seattle.
Kason Gabbard (2-0), making his second start in Curt Schilling's rotation spot, held the Rangers hitless for 4 1-3 innings before Gerald Laird singled through the shortstop hole. Gabbard allowed three runs, three hits and four walks in 5 2-3 innings, striking out five.
Mike Timlin, Javier Lopez, Kyle Snyder and Hideki Okajima combined for two-hit relief.
Julio Lugo, back in the lineup after being benched the previous three games, went 0-for-2 with two walks and is hitless his last 33 at-bats, dropping his average to .189. The crowd chanted "Let's Go Lugo!" when he came to bat with the bases loaded in the seventh before turning the cheers to boos when he grounded out.
Brad Wilkerson hit a three-run homer for Texas, which went 4-3 on its trip, the Rangers' first winning road trip since July 13-23 last year (6-5).
"You'd like to do more, but you can't expect to win three straight ballgames against the Boston Red Sox, not the way they can swing the bats," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "But once again our pitching was outstanding. We just had trouble with command and they made us pay for it by making us throw a lot of pitches."
Brandon McCarthy (4-5) gave up four runs, six hits and three walks over 3 2-3 innings in his first appearance since June 9. McCarthy, activated earlier in the day, had been on the disabled list because of a blister on his right middle finger.
"I didn't feel comfortable from moment one," McCarthy said. "It felt like waking up on Christmas morning and trying to pitch against the Boston Red Sox. My mechanics were all over."
Pedroia hit a two-run double in the third and scored when Manny Ramirez doubled off the center-field wall for a 3-0 lead. Boston could have had more, right fielder Marlon Byrd ended the inning with a diving catch on Mike Lowell's liner to end the inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury increased the lead to 4-0 in the fourth when he singled, stole second and scored from second on a wild pitch that bounced off Laird and rolled near the Rangers' dugout. Ellsbury took his cue from third base coach De Marlo Hale.
"I had my mind made up early," he said. "I saw the wild pitch early and I saw De Marlo waving me as I was almost by him."
Wilkerson's homer in the fifth cut the lead to 4-3. Hinske tripled in the bottom half.