The Rangers, with Wilson holding the Red Sox to one run in 6 2/3 innings and outpitching Jon Lester, ended up taking three out of four this weekend at Fenway. Texas had lost 11 of its last 14 here before this series.
"We're trying to win series," manager Ron Washington said. "It's hard to come up here and do what we did this weekend. I don't care how many guys they are missing, those guys know how to play baseball and still have some guys in the lineup that can do some damage. But we never backed down. We still played our game."
That included some aggressive baserunning that had been getting them in trouble lately. This time it paid off: Nelson Cruz circling the bases for an extra run off a run-scoring double in the fourth, a double steal of home by Julio Borbon in the fifth and Elvis Andrus racing home on Ian Kinsler's eighth-inning single, just barely beating the throw to the plate.
"We played well and we pitched well," third baseman Michael Young said. "The last few games, we've pitched especially well. We got some timely hits today that allowed us to push some runs across because they were pitching well, too. But our pitching staff made it stand up."
The victory allowed the Rangers to bounce back strong after their 11-inning loss the night before and win their first four-game series at Fenway since 1995. Now they open up a three-game series on Monday night at Comerica Park in Detroit, where they have lost their last 11.
"It's just good to come out for the second half and play the way we're capable of," Hamilton said. "It's good to come back and take three of four here in Boston because we know our recent history in Detroit isn't good."
The Rangers trailed, 1-0, going into the fourth against Lester before Josh Hamilton singled and scored on a double by Cruz to left-center. Cruz tried for third on the throw to the plate and catcher Dusty Brown threw down trying to get him. But the ball popped out of third baseman Adrian Beltre's glove and rolled far enough away for Cruz to keep going home to give the Rangers the lead.
"That's excellent baserunning by Cruz," Washington said. "When you go out and play the game hard, good things are going to happen."
Baserunning came up big in the fifth with Texas' first steal of home since 2001. With one out, Borbon doubled and Andrus reached on a bunt single, putting runners at the corners with Young at the plate.
Andrus went on a full-count pitch and Young struck out swinging. Brown looked at Borbon, then threw down to get Andrus. But Andrus had stopped well before second base to give Borbon time to break.
"When you see that happen, you don't want to be an easy out," Andrus said.
When Borbon saw Brown's throw go through to second, he dashed for home and beat the throw back from second baseman Bill Hall.
"I saw that [Brown] double-clutched and I wanted to make sure he threw the ball past the mound," Borbon said. "I knew I had to be aggressive once Elvis stopped and got into a rundown. I just wanted to read the ball out of his hand."
That gave the Rangers a 3-1 lead and they added one more run in the eighth when Andrus led off with a double and, after Young walked, scored on a single by Ian Kinsler. The Red Sox thought Andrus was nailed on a strong throw by left fielder Darnell McDonald, but home-plate umpire Gary Darling ruled he got in just ahead of the tag.
"His explanation didn't seem to correspond to what I saw," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.
"I was safe," Andrus said. "He tagged me on the shoulder. I'm not a midget. My legs are long enough."
Andrus finished the day with three hits, including a first-inning single that snapped an 0-for-26 slump. Of course, he got picked off first base by Lester, the Rangers' third out on the bases in a stretch of 12 innings going back to Saturday night. But the club made up for those mistakes later in the game.
"I was very proud of the ways the guys bounced back today after [Saturday] night," Washington said. "Going up against a guy like Lester, they battled and got it done."