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07/15/10 6:15 PM ET

Lewis, Rangers try to extend Red Sox's woes

In a second-half opener between two contenders who reeled into the All-Star Game break, the Rangers got well while the Red Sox's slump carried over.

Storming out of the gate with a six-run first inning on the way to Thursday night's 7-2 win at Fenway Park, the Rangers distanced themselves from a 3-7 homestand that had ended with a four-game sweep at the hands of the Orioles and now seem to be set up to add to Boston's struggles.

Losers of six of eight, the Red Sox turn to rookie left-hander Felix Doubront, who will be opposed by Colby Lewis, the hardest thrower on the Texas staff.

This figures to be the final of three pinch starts for Doubront, who has been working in Clay Buchholz's spot while the righty rehabs from a strained left hamstring. If Buchholz's rehab start Friday at Pawtucket goes well, it could be his last step before rejoining the Red Sox rotation.

Doubront has made a good impression, becoming the first Boston rookie lefty in 15 years to go five-plus innings without allowing more than three earned runs in his first two big league starts. The last to do that was Vaughn Eshelman, in May 1995.

In order to add another impressive page, Doubront may want Josh Hamilton to remain out of sight.

Thursday night, Hamilton put a hurt on the Red Sox, then gave in to his own pain. The All-Star outfielder had three doubles in four at-bats to improve his average to a Major League-leading .351 before departing with a sore right calf muscle.

Lewis, who has made an affirmative big league reentry from two seasons in Japan, tops the Rangers with 105 strikeouts in his 110 2/3 innings.

Rangers: Davis trying to lower K's
Chris Davis, who was demoted to the Minors in late April as his strikeouts were spiraling and was recalled to take the spot of traded Justin Smoak, did fan once in three at-bats Thursday -- but it is his only strikeout in 13 at-bats since his return. ... Bengie Molina's home run in the first inning Thursday was his first in the AL since Sept. 29, 2006, when he hit the last of his 19 that season with the Blue Jays.

Red Sox: Plenty of players on mend
Injured Boston players on rehab assignments dot the Minor League map: Reliever Manny Delcarmen and outfielder Jeremy Hermida are with Double-A Portland, shortstop Jed Lowrie was recently bumped up from Class A Lowell to Triple-A Pawtucket, and starters Josh Beckett and Buchholz are both with the PawSox. ... The Red Sox's record against AL West teams dropped to 8-3. ... That 1995 season was the first of consecutive 6-3 seasons for Eshelman, forced by injuries to retire after 1997 at the age of 28.

Worth noting
Cliff Lee, who made his first Texas start last Saturday, won't have his encore until the third game of this series on Saturday. The reason for the delay? The Rangers are setting him up to start the July 22 opener of their four-game home series against the Angels.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.