ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - A little more than a week ago, the Texas Rangers had a seven-game cushion in the AL West over the Los Angeles Angels.
Now, the Angels are back in the Rangers' rearview mirror, and the teams open a three-game series in Texas on Friday night.
The Rangers lost for the fifth time in six games when the Boston Red Sox clubbed four homers off starter Alexi Ogando in a 6-0 victory Thursday night.
Texas' margin has dwindled to two games over the streaking Angels, who have won six straight. The Angels were idle on Thursday, having already arrived in Texas and perhaps watching on TV in their hotel rooms as the Rangers struggled.
Afterward, however, the Rangers insisted there would be no Red Sox hangover when they open the series against the Angels.
``This game will be long gone by the time tomorrow's game starts,' Michael Young said.
Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler said he's not worried about the fast-approaching Angels.
``There's a long way to go,' Kinsler said. ``We've got to build the lead as best we can. As a ballplayer, you definitely know what the standings are, what's going on in the league. But it's not something we're focused on.'
Rangers pitchers had few answers for Adrian Gonzalez.
Gonzalez homered twice to give him five in four games, and left-hander Andrew Miller pitched three-hit ball in a spot start.
Miller threw 6 1-3 impressive innings and the Red Sox took the final three matchups in a four-game series between AL division leaders.
Gonzalez hit a solo shot in the first inning and a two-run drive in the third off Ogando (12-6), giving him homers on three consecutive swings - including one in the eighth inning of Boston's 13-2 rout Wednesday night.
Gonzalez, who had his 13th career multihomer game, had gone 84 at_bats without a long ball before homering in the first inning of Tuesday night's 11-5 win.
``I hit them in spurts, everybody knows that,' he said. ``When I have a good swing, it's just a feeling you have. You hit them in bunches, and this is a time right now when I feel good and hopefully I can keep swinging like that tomorrow.'
The Rangers reminded themselves in the postgame clubhouse that they swept a three-game series from the Red Sox on the season's opening weekend, and that they also took three in a row from the Angels in California from Aug. 15-17.
``We're still in first place, that's the main thing,' catcher Yorvit Torrealba said. ``We have to forget about this series. ... In Anaheim it was almost like a playoff series, you could call it a do-or-die series. Now it's about the same.'
Ogando allowed a career-high four homers - the same number he yielded in his previous 12 starts - among his six runs and six hits in four innings as he failed to join C.J. Wilson as the Rangers' second 13-game winner.
Texas was a 4-0 winner in the series opener, but Boston took the final three games by a total of 30-7.
``There's a lot more baseball to be played,' Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ``We hit a team that came in here hot. They didn't miss very much.'
With two outs and nobody on in the first, Gonzalez lofted Ogando's fastball onto the grass hill beyond the center-field wall.
Ortiz led off the second with a drive into the right-field seats for his 25th homer to give Boston a 2-0 pad. Ortiz had missed nine games because of bursitis in his right heel before returning to the lineup Wednesday night, when he went 2 for 5 and scored twice.
Ortiz has his eighth 25-homer season for Boston, second in club history behind Ted Williams' 14. Ortiz started the night tied with Jim Rice at seven.
With Jed Lowrie on first after a walk in the third, Gonzalez pounded another Ogando fastball 448 feet into the Red Sox bullpen in left-center for his 23rd homer and a 4-0 edge.
Carl Crawford opened the fourth with a single and Saltalamacchia, traded by the Rangers to the Red Sox in July 2010, launched a two-run shot for his 13th of the season to stretch the lead to 6-0.
Ogando's fastball was in the mid-90s (mph), but throwing heaters over the middle of the plate proved ineffective against the Red Sox.
``I wanted to get ahead in the count, but they were ready for my fastball,' Ogando said through a translator.
NOTES: Texas LHP Derek Holland (11-5) gets the start Friday night against Dan Haren (13-6) of the Angels. ... Four hours before the game began, Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre slowly ran the bases as he continued his rehab from a strained left hamstring that landed him on the 15-day DL on July 23. Washington said there's no schedule for the All-Star to begin a minor league rehab assignment.
The Associated Press News Service
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