Red Sox aim to get on track versus Rangers

The Boston Red Sox try to get themselves back on track this game set against the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park.

Boston saw its lead atop the American League East standings dwindled to a half-game on Thursday when it dropped a 4-2 decision to the New York Yankees, who took two of three in the series and pulled even in the loss column with the Red Sox.

Dustin Pedroia's two-run homer was the lone offense for the Red Sox, who had won three of four coming in. Alfredo Aceves (9-2) suffered the loss, charged with two runs in 1 1/3 relief innings.

David Ortiz went 1-for-3 in the loss to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. He is batting .500 with seven doubles, seven homers, 16 RBI and nine walks during the run, which is his longest with the Red Sox. He had a 19-gamer with the Twins in 2002.

"They played better than us," said Pedroia. "Long games -- we're all tired. Tonight, we just didn't swing the bats that well. We move on and try to win tomorrow."

That starts with left-hander Andrew Miller, who had perhaps his finest outing with Boston his last time out on August 25 against the Rangers. Miller scattered three hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings of that one and improved to 6-1 to go along with a 4.42 ERA.

"We've always seen glimpses, and he just kept going out and repeating," Boston manager Terry Francona said after that start. "Man, he threw fastball, breaking ball, changeup. Again, against a lineup that is pretty dangerous and he really did a good job."

This will be his second-ever start against Texas.

The Rangers, meanwhile, have played well since losing three of four to Boston last week. Texas won for the fourth time in six tries since that series on Thursday, as Ian Kinsler hit a pair of solo home runs to back C.J. Wilson's quality outing, helping the Rangers defeat the Tampa Bay Rays, 7-2, in the rubber match of a three-game series in Arlington.

Wilson (14-6) retired the first 15 hitters he faced and struck out eight over six-plus frames. He allowed two runs on two hits and a walk to bounce back from a forgettable five-inning, six-run effort against the Angels on Saturday.

Michael Young also went deep for AL West-leading Texas, which welcomed back Adrian Beltre from the disabled list

Beltre, who was 1-for-4 with a run scored, will be back in Boston tonight for the first time since leaving for the Rangers as a free agent this past winter. He hit .314 with 13 homers in 75 games last season for the Red Sox, but left for a five-year $80 million deal with Texas.

Getting the call on the hill will be lefty Derek Holland, who is 12-5 with a 4.30 ERA. Holland beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last Friday, as he allowed just a run and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.

He is 1-1 in two starts versus the Red Sox with a 4.76 ERA.

Texas has won four of its seven matchups with Boston this season. Tonight, though, will be its first trip to Beantown since it went 4-3 there last year.