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Preview: Red Sox at Rangers

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: May 09 2014 11:47:04 PM CDT
Updated On: May 09 2014 11:47:05 PM CDT

The Boston Red Sox send soon-to-be free agent Jon Lester to the mound when they visit the Texas Rangers on Saturday in the second contest of a three-game series, and at least one teammate hopes the team gives him a contract extension soon. "They better hurry," David Ortiz told the Boston Herald after Lester struck out a career-high 15 and allowed one hit over eight innings in his last start. "That's our ace. If it doesn't happen here, it's going to happen somewhere else, I guarantee you that." Lester opposes fellow left-hander Martin Perez, who has yielded 13 runs in his last two turns after a career-best 26-inning scoreless streak.It will be difficult for Lester or Perez to duplicate the effort of the Rangers' Yu Darvish, who lost a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning for the second time in his career before settling for an 8-0 victory over the Red Sox on Friday. Texas' Elvis Andrus, who went 4-for-5 and scored three runs, is 9-for-22 during his six-game hitting streak while raising his average 31 points to .248. The Rangers, who are 31-16 against Boston since the start of 2009, recorded their second consecutive shutout.TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), TXA-21 (Texas)PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Jon Lester (3-4, 2.59 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Martin Perez (4-2, 3.59)Lester, who has a no-hitter on his resume, can include Saturday's 6-3 victory over Oakland as one the best starts of his career. "That's as dominant a performance as I've seen from any pitcher in a long time," catcher David Ross told the Boston Herald about the 30-year-old Tacoma, Wash., native, who has five quality starts in seven turns this season. Lester is 3-3 with a 4.56 ERA in 12 starts against the Rangers - 1-0, 3.91 ERA in four outings in Texas - and the active roster is hitting .236 against him, with former teammate Adrian Beltre (9-for-25, home run, four RBIs) enjoying the most success and Shin Soo-Choo (1-for-13, six strikeouts) the least.Perez didn't allow a home run in 46 innings before yielding two against the Rockies in an 8-2 loss at Colorado on Monday, when he allowed five runs and seven hits in five frames. The 23-year-old Venezuelan was worse in his previous start, yielding eight runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings of a 9-3 loss to Oakland on April 29 - his only home setback of the season after going 2-0 with an 0.79 ERA in his first three starts at Global Life Park. Perez is 1-0 with a 3.65 ERA in two turns against Boston.WALK-OFFS1. Rangers 2B Rougned Odor, who turned 20 on Feb. 3 and is the youngest player in the major leagues, recorded his first big-league hit Friday in his second game.2. Friday ended a streak of eight games in which Red Sox starters yielded three or fewer runs.3. Texas has a major league-high 11 players on the disabled list.PREDICTION: Red Sox 3, Rangers 2

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