BOSTON — A bizarre night at Fenway Park saw an inside-the-park home run, both managers ejected, and the Red Sox continuing to free fall.
When it finally ended, the scoreboard on the Green Monster read: Texas 9, Boston 5.
With another loss, the Red Sox have slipped back to .500 on the season and sit a distant third in the AL East race.
Here are five takes from a weird evening:
1. Way too many walks
Red Sox pitchers never gave their team a chance in this one.
Darwinzon Hernandez got his first start, and though it’s easy to see why the 22-year-old prospect is highly-touted — his stuff is filthy — the lefty lost his command for minutes at a time and struggled to throw strikes. He pitched into the fourth inning, where he couldn’t retire a batter.
Colten Brewer and Bobby Poyner weren’t much better behind him, and as a staff the Sox walked eight batters in the first 4 1/3 innings. Five of them came around to score, and by the sixth Boston trailed 9-3. They’d never dig out of that hole.
2. Welcome to The Angel Hernandez Show
Only a crew run by Angel Hernandez could infuriate the Red Sox and Rangers in a matter of minutes, but that’s exactly what the umpires managed to do in the fifth inning.
After a borderline strike call, Andrew Benintendi grounded out and chirped back at Hernandez. First base ump Vic Carapazza threw him out as Benintendi was walking back to the dugout.
This infuriated Alex Cora, who was also tossed as Benintendi screamed from the top step.
Not to be outdone, Hernandez ejected Rangers skipper Chris Woodward in the next half inning, after his second base umpire signaled a player safe and then decided to rule him out. Woodward wanted to challenge the call, but was apparently a second too late and the ump granted him no leeway.
Heaven forbid Darwinzon would be the Hernandez that got the most attention last night.
3. Holt can’t handle HR
After Benintendi’s ejection, the Red Sox shifted their outfield and Brock Holt found himself in right field. Hunter Pence drove a ball into the corner, Holt leapt for it, missed badly, and caught himself on the stands. Then he just hung on as the ball rolled into no-man’s land, and Pence touched home plate with the most uncontested inside-the-park home run you’ll see.Mookie Betts hadn’t made his way over from center, so a Red Sox outfielder had yet to touch the ball.
4. Xander still hitting
True to form, while most of his teammates struggled Xander Bogaerts was still able to produce.
The shortstop blasted a mammoth home run — his 13th of the season — and finished the evening 2 for 3 with a walk. He’s quietly putting together another career year.
5. Is this rock bottom?
Six games into this homestand, the Sox are 1-5 and have fallen back to 34-34 on the season. They’re eight games out of first place, and well beyond any sort of championship hangover excuse. The Sox have the talent to be far better than this, but the fact is they haven’t been.
Will they ever wake up?