Coco Crisp slides into home with the 6th run of the afternoon.

Paul Byrd gave the Boston Red Sox 6 2/3 scoreless innings as they went on to beat the Texas Rangers 7-2 in front of 28,644 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The win for the Red Sox coupled with the Tampa Bay Rays loss this afternoon moves them to 1.5 games with the Rays coming for a big 3-game set.

The Red Sox also now lead the wild card by 6.5 games over the Minnesota Twins, 8 games over the Toronto Blue Jays and 8.5 games over the New York Yankees, who are now in the 4th place in the AL East.

Paul Byrd picked up his fourth win in 5 tries in a Red Sox uniform.

Paul Byrd picked up his fourth win in 5 tries in a Red Sox uniform.

Byrd was solid as he gave up just 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 4 on 102 pitches. He is now 4-1 in a Red Sox uniform. Javier Lopez struck out the only batter he faced while Manny Delcarmen gave up 1 run on 2 hits while fanning the side in his inning of work. Chris Smith worked 1/3 of an inning, allowing a run on a walk. Jonathan Papelbon worked the final 2/3 innings giving up 2 hits and allowed the inherited runner from Smith to score.

David Ortiz led the Red Sox with 2 RBI on 2 hits including his first home run in 20 games. Coco Crisp added 2 hits to go along with a walk, 2 runs scored and a stolen base while Jason Bay added 2 hits including a solo home run. All of the starting nine for the Red Sox had a hit in the game.

The Red Sox got on the scoreboard in the 2nd inning off of Rangers starter Brandon McCarthy.

McCarthy had actually gotten the first two outs of the inning before Jason Varitek singled. He came into score when Alex Cora tripled and Cora came across the plate on a Coco single to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. Jacoby Ellsbury worked walk but McCarthy got Dustin Pedroia to ground into a fielder’s choice.

The only bad inning Byrd had was in the bottom of the 3rd.

Last night’s Rangers hero Nelson Cruz led off with a single. After a Chris Davis fly out, Byrd tried to pickoff Cruz but his throw got past Sean Casey allowing Cruz to get to second. Byrd ended up striking out Taylor Teagarden with Cruz stealing third on the strikeout. Byrd then hit Joaquin Arias with a pitch and walked Ramon Vazquez but rebounded to strike out Michael Young to get out of the self-created jam.

Crisp worked a walk to start the 5th and stole second before Ellsbury grounded out to the catcher with Crisp ending up at third. WIth the infield in, Pedroia grounded out to third but Big Papi brought home Crisp and himself with a 2-run blast to push the lead to 4-0.

Casey started the 6th with a single and got to second on a Varitek ground out. McCarthy then walked Cora to end his afternoon. Luis Mendoza grounded into a fielder’s choice that saw Cora retired at second. Ellsbury followed that with a RBI single scoring Casey and a Pedroia RBI single scoring Crisp from second pushed the lead to 6-0.

Jason Bay is congratulated by Sean Casey after his solo home run.

Jason Bay is congratulated by Sean Casey after his solo home run.

Bay added the final run of the afternoon for the Red Sox with a solo home run off of Jamey Wright.

The Rangers broke up the shutout when Teagarden led off the inning with a solo home run off of Delcarmen. He sandwiched a Arias double around his 3 strikeouts in the inning.

The Rangers added another run in the 9th on a walk to Marlon Byrd by Smith and an RBI single by Teagarden off of Papelbon.

Jon Lester gets the ball tomorrow night for the Red Sox as they begin a critical 3-game set with the Rays at Fenway Park in front of a MLB-record 456th consecutive sellout.

Notes and musings:

Red Sox @ Rangers 9.7.08 boxscore

The Red Sox called up Devern Hansack before the game since the bullpen was used heavily last night. He didn’t get into the game today.

The Red Sox designated Marcus McBeth for assignment to make room for Bartolo Colon on the 40-man roster. Colon was then optioned to Pawtucket to start for the PawSox today.

Sox allowed at least 15 runs for the 4th time this season on Saturday, the most times since 1966 (4). Club record is 6 in 1923 (Source: Elias Sports Bureau).

Sox on streaks:

Coco Crisp has a 9-game hitting streak

Jeff Bailey has a 6-game hitting streak

Sean Casey has a 4-game hitting streak

Mike Lowell has a 3-game hitting streak

Jason Bay has a 3-game hitting streak