Sometimes, in baseball, numbers don't do justice to what happens between the lines. On Tuesday night at Fenway Park, they couldn't do enough.
In Boston's 19-17 triumph over Texas, the two teams combined to tie a 58-year-old record for most runs scored in an American League contest, last done when the Red Sox defeated the Philadelphia Athletics, 22-14, on June 29, 1950.
"That's an interesting night," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "At some point, you're thinking about going for a field goal. There's a lot to be said for playing the game and continuing to play, because that had a chance to be a really frustrating night, and in the end, the music's playing, and we won. That's what we set out to do. That's not exactly how we drew it up."
"I can say I never [have been in a game like that]," added Rangers counterpart Ron Washington. "After that first inning when they had us down, 10-0, I think everybody in this ballpark, and everybody in all of Massachusetts, thought the game was over right there. But one thing I can always say about my guys is they play nine innings, and they certainly did that tonight."
The record-tying 36 runs were just the tip of the iceberg of statistics from Tuesday's three-hour, 58-minute slugfest.
The Red Sox scored 10 runs in the first inning, the 30th time they had reached double figures in an inning in franchise history, extending their Major League record.
"We were just hoping you could get somebody to come in there and put up some zeroes, but it just didn't happen," quipped Washington.
That might have been the understatement of all understatements on a night full of loud noises off the bats of both clubs.
The Rangers scored a season-high 17 runs. Remarkably, it was the second time this season that a Major League team scored 17 and lost. Colorado beat Florida, 18-17, on July 4. The Rangers are making a habit of lighting up and wearing out scoreboards.
The Rangers scored 15 on Sunday in a 15-7 win at Baltimore, giving them 32 runs in their past two games and marking the second time in franchise history they've scored 15 or more in back-to-back contests. They also turned the trick on July 31-Aug. 1, 2002.
Texas starter Scott Feldman, who allowed a franchise-record 10 runs in the first inning, became the first big league pitcher to give up at least 12 runs in a game without taking the loss since Gene Packard of the St. Louis Cardinals allowed 12, but won the game over the Philadelphia Phillies, 16-12, on Aug. 3, 1918.
"I was just getting behind everybody," Feldman said. "There were a couple of times where I put pitches where I wanted to throw it, and they put good swings on it. They're a good hitting team, but nobody should ever score 10 runs in the first inning off you. It's pretty embarrassing, actually."
Tuesday also marked the 20th time in 2008 that the Rangers have scored in double figures, the most in the Majors.
Then there were the victors.
David Ortiz became the fourth Red Sox player in history to hit two homers in an inning, driving in six of the 10 runs in the opening frame off Feldman. The six RBIs in an inning match an AL mark, last accomplished by Seattle's Raul Ibanez in the seventh inning on Aug. 4. Ortiz was the first Sox player to do it since Carlos Quintana on July 30, 1991.
By the numbers
|It was a record setting Tuesday night at Fenway Park, as the Red Sox and Rangers combined to score 36 runs, tying the single-game American League record set on June 29, 1950, when the Red Sox beat the Athletics, 22-14.|
|9||Left on base||7|
"Everybody is swinging good," Ortiz said. "Our pitchers tried to get it done but the other side has a good swinging team. You've got to come up with your big hits."
With his two mighty swings in the first, Big Papi passed two Red Sox legends on the club's all-time home run list, Jimmie Foxx (222) and Bobby Doerr (223), and now stands alone in seventh place.
"It was an exciting game," Ortiz said. "We needed that. We need that type of game, the way everybody relaxed, loosened up. We've got two more months to decide where we're going to be at the end of the season. That's the kind of game that puts you in the mood and gets you going right away."
Dustin Pedroia tied a career high with a five-hit game, the first by a Red Sox player this year.
"That was pretty tiring, especially getting in so late in the morning," Pedroia said. "But it was a huge win for us. To be up 10 runs, twice, and have them come back. They can flat-out swing the bats. But it was a huge win for us."
But the one record the Red Sox were more than relieved to avoid was set on June 4, 1989.
That was the Sunday afternoon when the Red Sox blew a 10-0 lead after six innings and lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 13-11, in extra innings on the same Fenway Park lawn.
It was Kevin Youkilis to the rescue when his three-run homer off Frank Francisco sailed over the Green Monster in left in the bottom of the eighth, putting Boston up, 19-16.
"There's been some crazy games here in Boston, but usually it's like a college-type game with those runs scored," Youkilis said. "But it was definitely a good game for us to pull out in the end and huge for us to get that win."
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.