ARLINGTON -- There are still 159 games left for the Red Sox to live up to the enormous expectations that have been placed on them this season, but it didn't happen during a completely lost weekend in Texas.
A 5-1 defeat on Sunday afternoon to the defending American League champion Rangers completed a frustrating three-game sweep for Boston.
The Rangers outscored the Red Sox, 26-11, in the series.
"I think we're all frustrated," said Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "We got outplayed. It's not for lack of talent on our team. We got outpitched, we got outhit, they played better defense than us. We have to play better than we've been playing."
Manager Terry Francona's team will now regroup during Monday's off-day and resume play on Tuesday night at Cleveland. This was the first time Boston has lost its first three games since 1996, which also happened in Texas.
"It would have been a lot more fun going on the flight with a win and feeling good about yourselves," said Francona. "We didn't play a very good series. We got outplayed all the way around. They hit better than us, they pitched better than us. Now we have to go regroup and try to get us a win so we feel better about ourselves."
Perhaps the change of scenery will reverse the fortunes of the Sox, who gave up 11 home runs to the Rangers in this series. According to research that goes back to 1919, it was the first time Boston has ever allowed that many homers in the first three games of a season.
"We went after them with our strengths," said Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "I don't think anyone regrets any pitch they threw, and I don't regret calling any pitch. We went after them. They're a good-hitting team. But like I said, we went after everybody. We're going to pitch to our strengths. We're not going to change anything just because we've given up a few hits."
Clay Buchholz surrendered four homers on Sunday, all solo shots. It was one short of a career worst for Buchholz, who gave up five homers to the Blue Jays on Sept. 29, 2009.
"I don't think these guys missed a mistake pitch in 27 innings," said Buchholz. "It's a tough one, but you definitely learn something from it. We've got a day off tomorrow, and we've got a little bit of time for it to soak in."
The man who pitched against Buchholz was at the top of his game. Rangers lefty Matt Harrison limited the Sox to five hits and a run over seven innings. He walked two and struck out eight.
"He located," said Pedroia. "He pounded his ball in on righties and threw his changeup down and away. He threw his breaking ball for strikes. He's got great stuff. He pitched well."
The best chance the Red Sox had against Harrison was in the top of the seventh. Carl Crawford sliced the Rangers' lead to 3-1 with an RBI single to center. Darnell McDonald's walk loaded the bases with two outs.
That left it up to Jacoby Ellsbury, but he struck out on an 88-mph cutter.
"You know what, he had good stuff," Francona said. "Fastball ranging from probably 90 to 95 [mph], so there's some differential there, and the offspeed made him really, really good. And then to the right-handed hitters, he was busting them in hard, opening up the rest of the plate. He was pretty impressive. We had our one shot and didn't capitalize."
Just like that, the momentum swung back to Texas, as Nelson Cruz walloped a solo shot to right-center in the bottom of the seventh, ending the afternoon for Buchholz.
David Murphy was the first to leave the yard, ripping a solo homer to right with two outs in the second. In the third, Ian Kinsler went deep for the third time in as many games, taking Buchholz over the wall in left. And in the fifth, Mike Napoli unloaded to center to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead.
It was a strange performance for Buchholz in that he fared well, other than the homers. He only gave up one additional hit, a single to right by Michael Young. Buchholz walked two and struck out three.
"I mean, he didn't have an inning over 18 pitches," Francona said. "The solos, I thought Murph went down and hit a good pitch. The other pitches, he threw a pitch to Kinsler that was belt high. Two fastballs were out over the plate, and they hit them a long way. They're good strong hitters that feel good about themselves right now. He didn't have to pitch out of jams. He didn't have long innings. Just four solos."
But that was enough to sink the Red Sox and put a capper on a humbling weekend.
"We want to play well," Pedroia said. "We're not excited about how we played the first three games. They swung the bats great, they pitched good, they did everything good. We didn't."
According to the Rangers, however, it was not a statement between two teams who could wind up among the elite in the AL.
"We're not about sending messages," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We're about winning ballgames. When it's all over, the Boston Red Sox will be right there. We're very happy with the way we played, but it's only three games of a long year."