Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 4/18/12

One day after the critical Bobby Valentine comments about Kevin Youkilis (and the Red Sox losing to the Rays in a game many are blaming Valentine for), the Red Sox welcomed the Texas Rangers to town for a two game series. The first game didn't go exactly as Bostonians planned. Red Sox starter Jon Lester allowed seven runs (while only getting six outs), but things settled down over the next five innings for Boston, with Scott Atchison and Matt Albers throwing five scoreless innings. The game was still pretty much over, with Colby Lewis allowing just a pair of first inning runs, but it would at least look like a manageable defeat. Then, the eighth inning came along. The Rangers put an eight spot on the board, highlighted by six runs (and three homers) off of reliever Mark Melancon, who didn't get an out. The Rangers added two more off of Justin Thomas in the eighth, and tacked a pair more on off of Vicente Padilla in the ninth. 18-3 was your final, and the ire of Red Sox Nation appears to still be firmly planted onto Bobby Valentine.

Game of the Night: Brewers 5, Dodgers 4. Milwaukee got two early runs, but the Dodgers chipped away and tied the game up in the seventh inning. The Brewers didn't let that tie last long, as Norichika Aoki pulled off a squeeze (to score Mat Gamel, no less) to give the Brewers a 3-2 lead. Francisco Rodriguez came in for the eighth, and allowed a two run homer to Andre Ethier to pull the Dodgers ahead again. And then we rolled to the ninth, with previously untouched Dodgers closer Javy Guerra on the hill. Of course, he allowed two hitters to reach, and George Kottaras drove the two of them in with a double to walk-off on the Dodgers.

Pitching Line of the Night: Gio Gonzalez threw seven shutout innings against the Astros in a 1-0 Nationals win, allowing just two hits and walking two, while striking out eight. Yeah, that's a pretty solid effort for Gonzalez as part of a retooled Nationals rotation. Kyle Lohse also threw seven shutout innings for the Cardinals, allowing four hits and a walk, striking out six in the process. Of course, he got a no decision.

Hitting Line of the Night: All Rangers, all the time. Mike Napoli went 3/5 with three runs, four RBI, a walk, and two homers. Josh Hamilton went 3/5 with five RBI and a homer. Nelson Cruz went 3/6 with three runs, two RBI, and a homer. It was open season on Red Sox pitching last night.

Spotlight Series: The Giants won game two against the Phillies by virtue of a 4-2 victory. The newly extended Madison Bumgarner allowed just two runs over six innings, but only struck out two batters. Joe Blanton only made it through five, and allowed four runs on 11 hits. Buster Posey and Nate Schierholtz each had three hits for the Giants, while the team got RBI from four separate players. The Phillies had a pedestrian day with only two extra base hits, one of which was a solo homer from Hunter Pence. Juan Pierre was the only Phillies to get multiple hits, and he came in after a double switch in the sixth inning.

Other Games: The Yankees pounded the Twins 8-3 as Francisco Liriano continued to struggle. The Blue Jays beat the Rays 7-3 behind a trio of homers. The Braves beat up on the Mets 9-3 in the shortest outing of Johan Santana's career. The Marlins used a late rally to beat the Cubs 5-2. All the scoring came in the sixth inning, and the Orioles beat the White Sox 3-2. The Cardinals beat the Reds 2-1 in ten innings. The Tigers edged the Royals 3-1 in a great pitching duel between Drew Smyly and Bruce Chen. The Rockies beat the Padres 5-3, and Jamie Moyer made history. The A's used a late rally to beat the Angels 5-3, as LA's bullpen collapsed again. The Indians won an action-packed 9-8 game over the Mariners. The Pirates got a late run courtesy of Andrew McCutchen and beat Arizona 5-4.

Today's Games: Derek Holland and Josh Beckett in Boston is a solid matchup. I really like the David Price-Brandon Morrow matchup in Toronto. Matt Garza versus Mark Buerhle is a good duel in Miami. Mat Latos and Jaime Garcia gets my stamp of approval. The feature matchup today is the late game, with Cliff Lee taking on Matt Cain in San Francisco.

Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.

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