Jim Rice had three hits, including a two-run homer in the first inning, as the Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers, 4-1, last night in Boston,

Dennis Eckersley (1-1) gave up a home run to Billy Sample on the first pitch of the game but settled down and limited the Rangers to five hits until being replaced by Bob Stanley at the start of the eighth. Stanley gave up three hits in two innings in earning his second save.

"I was just trying to get ahead of him and he hits it out," Eckersley said of the home run pitch. "If you have one bad inning, you can lose a whole ball game. I got through that first inning, and then I felt good the rest of the way although it was awfully cold out there."

"I think we're a cold-weather club," said Boston Manager Ralph Houk after the Red Sox improved their record to 4-5.

The Red Sox quickly got to Texas left-hander Jon Matlack. With one out in the first, Dwight Evans hit a single to right and Rice followed with his second homer, a smash over the screen atop the left field wall.

The Red Sox scored two runs, both unearned, in the fourth. Reid Nichols led off the inning with a single and went to third and Wade Boggs wound up at second when Buddy Bell threw wildly on Boggs' infield hit.

Nichols scored as Dave Stapleton grounded out to second. With two out, Boggs scored on Bucky Dent's error on Jerry Remy's grounder.

Texas was frustrated in the seventh when George Wright singled and was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a two-out double by Sample to left center.