"Through thick, through thin, through errors, through great games, he is always the same," Francona said Tuesday night. "We love him. I love him. Regardless of what happens out there, he keeps playing just like everybody else."
After being charged with a costly error in a five-run seventh, Renteria lined a sharp single down the third-base line in the 10th to give Boston an 8-7 victory over the Texas Rangers.
The Red Sox shortstop also had an error that led to an unearned run in the fourth.
"We have to play better defense," said Renteria, who has 22 errors for the season. "Now is not the time to give the games away."
Renteria made sure his miscues weren't too costly by delivering his eighth RBI in his last 10 games after getting eight in the previous 37 games. Boston won for the 11th time in 13 games and 10th in a row at Fenway Park.
"This is usually the way it is when we play these guys," Rangers shortstop Michael Young said. "High-scoring games and, usually, whoever gets up last wins. Unfortunately, they were at home tonight."
Curt Schilling (4-4) allowed one hit and struck out two in two innings for Boston. He is 3-2 with nine saves and a 3.00 ERA in 16 games since coming off the disabled list and moving into the Red Sox bullpen at the All-Star break.
"I assumed I was going to be in the game as long as it took," he said.
Asked if that meant anything about a return to the rotation, Schilling said flatly, "No."
Kevin Gryboski (1-1) allowed one run on three hits and an intentional walk in 1 1/3 innings for the Rangers, who will get some pitching help on Wednesday when Kenny Rogers returns from his suspension.
Rogers was reinstated on Tuesday and flew to Boston in order to start on Wednesday. The Rangers left-hander was originally suspended for 20 games, but he will miss 13 because an arbitrator ruled the punishment for shoving a TV cameraman was excessive.
"He's our ace. For him to be back is a huge boost for us," first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "Unfortunately, he can only pitch one out of every five days."
Texas could have used him in the fifth, when seven consecutive Red Sox batters reached base with two outs as they scored five runs to take a 7-2 lead. But the Rangers tied it with five of their own in the seventh.
It stayed that way until Bill Mueller, who hit a solo homer in the third, singled to lead off the 10th and Alex Cora moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt. Johnny Damon was intentionally walked, then Renteria worked the count full before sending a shot into left for the game-winner.
Boston starter Matt Clement, who missed a start after getting hit in the head by a line-drive on July 26, got hit in the back of the right leg on Gary Matthews Jr.'s hard chopper in the fifth but laughed it off and stayed in the game. The crowd gave Clement a standing ovation, but the Red Sox training staff went to the mound to make sure he was OK.
Clement spent a night in the hospital after getting knocked off his feet by Carl Crawford's line drive to the side of the head last month, but he started last Thursday -- nine days later -- and beat Kansas City.
Clement allowed two runs -- one earned -- in six innings while walking two and striking out six, and he looked like he would get the win when the Red Sox scored five times in the bottom of the inning.
Joaquin Benoit got two outs in the fifth before Damon stole second, David Ortiz walked and Manny Ramirez singled to make it 3-2. Jason Varitek doubled off of Doug Brocail, Kevin Millar walked and Roberto Petagine doubled in two runs.
Mueller walked to load the bases and Cora was hit by a pitch, scoring another run before Erasmo Ramirez got Damon on a weak grounder to end the inning.
Brocail faced five batters and did not record an out, but Benoit was charged with five runs on five hits and three walks to go with three strikeouts.
Then the Rangers tied it just as suddenly.
David Dellucci led off with a double off Mike Remlinger, Young walked and Teixeira singled to score one run. Hank Blalock hit a grounder to third base for a potential double play; Renteria dropped the ball at short when he tried to transfer it from his glove to his hand and umpire Bill Miller ruled everybody safe.
Alfonso Soriano singled off Chad Bradford to score another run and another scored on Phil Nevin's fielder's choice. Blalock scored on Kevin Mench's groundout, Matthews was intentionally walked and Rod Barajas doubled to tie the game at 7.
Dellucci lined out to third base to end the inning.
- Damon singled in the third inning to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. He also has a 29-game hitting streak this season.
- The Red Sox traded OF Jose Cruz Jr. to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named. Boston also acquired Remlinger from Chicago for minor-league RHP Olivo Astacio and put RHP Wade Miller on the 15-day DL to make room for him.
- Texas placed RHP Ricardo Rodriguez on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised right shoulder and recalled Ramirez from Triple-A Oklahoma.
- Clement had been 2-2 with a 9.20 ERA since June.