ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Chris Sale struck out 12, J.D. Martinez homered again and the Boston Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 6-1 Sunday to maintain their AL East lead heading into a highly anticipated showdown at Yankee Stadium.
The Red Sox hold a major league-best 25-9 record and a one-game lead over the Yankees. Boston and New York tangled earlier this season at Fenway Park, and the Yankees have won 15 of 16 overall entering this three-game set that begins Tuesday night.
Sandy Leon added a three-run homer for the Red Sox, who took three of four to start a 10-game road trip.
Texas has lost its first six home series in a season for the first time. The Rangers are 5-15 at home.
Sale (3-1) got his first five outs by strikeouts and the only run against him was Ryan Rua’s solo homer in the seventh. The lefty allowed four hits, walked one and hit two batters in seven innings.
The Rangers had the bases loaded in the second on a hit batsman, a single and an error before Sale stabbed a comeback liner by Carlos Perez. Sale put his glove up and his head down for the inning-ending out.
Doug Fister (1-3) allowed six runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings, with five strikeouts and two walks.
Boston went ahead to stay in the first when Mookie Betts, after a leadoff single and being hit in the back by a throw, scored on a double by Mitch Moreland. Martinez doubled in the third and came home on a single by Xander Bogaerts.
Martinez got his eighth homer of the season, and third in five games, with a solo shot in the seventh, an inning after Leon’s first homer.
Right-handed starters are 1-15 with a 7.48 ERA in 26 games against the Red Sox this season. … Rangers leadoff hitter Delino DeShields extended his career-best hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the third inning. It’s the longest streak by a Rangers player this season. … Texas struck out 52 times in the four-game series.
Red Sox: Betts left the game in the second inning because of a bruised right shoulder. He was hit on the upper back by first baseman Ronald Guzman’s throw when running to second base in the first inning. Betts batted again in the second before getting replaced in the field in the bottom of that inning.
Rangers: 2B Rougned Odor (left hamstring) was scheduled to play five innings in the field at Double-A Frisco. He will need to play a few more games there before the Rangers decide if he’s ready to rejoin them.
Red Sox: After a day off Monday, the Red Sox open a three-game series Tuesday night against the Yankees. Drew Pomeranz is expected to start for Boston vs. Luis Severino.
Rangers: Matt Moore (1-4), who allowed 10 runs over four innings in his last start, takes the mound when Texas opens a three-game series at home against Detroit.
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