Gonzo's HR drought ends at the right time

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Gonzo's HR drought ends at the right time

BOSTON -- Adrian Gonzalez made a timely display that perhaps he is ready to break out of whatever has been causing his power slump this season.

Although the Red Sox were mostly stymied by White Sox rookie Dylan Axelrod over 6 23 innings, it was Gonzalezs RBI single in the first that scored Carl Crawford and tied the score at 1, accounting for the only run the Chicago righthander allowed.

Then in the eighth, with the score still tied, nobody out and Crawford and David Ortiz on base after walks from rookie lefty Leyson Septimo, Gonzalez mashed a 2-and-1, 93-mph fastball into the Monster seats, putting the Red Sox up by three on their way to a 5-1 win.

He walked the first two hitters so I could see a couple of pitches, Gonzalez said. Never faced him before. Fell behind 2-1, I saw fastball for a strike so I was looking for another fastball for a strike, be aggressive. And he threw a fastball up in the zone that I was able to get to.

I mean, it feels great to win the game. Im not really worried about hitting the home runs or any of that stuff, Gonzalez said. Im just trying to have good at-bats.

It was just Gonzalezs seventh home run of the season and first in 66 at-bats, since his last on June 24 against the Braves. The blast gave him a season-high four RBI, the most since he also drove in four runs on May 20, 2011, against the Cubs at Fenway.

The home run also gave Gonzalez 50 RBI for the season, and a team-leading nine game-winning RBI this season.

It was big, said manager Bobby Valentine. It really inspired us to victory, thats for sure. We were kind of dull there for a while. He got the first RBI in the first inning and we really werent doing anything. He showed a lot of patience and delivered.

Gonzalez, who went 2-for-4, ended a career-best 18-game hitting streak on July 8, the day before the All-Star break. Still, he has hit safely in 20 of his last 21 games at a .384 (33-for-86) rate with five doubles, two home runs, 14 RBI, and 13 runs scored.

Just trying to hit singles, Gonzalez said of his current stretch.

Gonzalezs first RBI, on a single, allowed him to make up for his error in the top of the inning that allowed the White Sox to score their lone run.

With left-hander Adam Dunn batting, and Kevin Youkilis on first base with a single, the Red Sox employed the infield shift. On Dunns groundout to Pedro Ciriaco at second base, Youkilis took second . But with Will Middlebrooks still off third, Youkilis broke for third. Gonzalezs errant throw to Middlebrooks sailed into left field, allowing Youkilis to come home, scoring an unearned run off Aaron Cook.

Gonzalez blamed it on his lacking quarterback skills.

I was thinking back shoulder, Will was thinking over the top, Gonzalez said. It didnt work out.

On this night, thought, just about everything else did.

Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Notes, quotes and stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Rays:

QUOTES:

* "There's not much I can do about it now. It's kind of a waiting game and hopefully, the tests come back clean.'' -Andrew Benintendi, on the uncertainty surrounding his knee injury.

* "Sometimes, I like that, sometimes I don't because I'd kind of take a couple of quick outs in place of those to get a couple of more innings out there.'' -Drew Pomeranz on his career high 11 strikeouts.

* "That's probably the spot that looms the largest. Jackie's become more aggressive early in the count, but at the same time, that aggressiveness can work against you.'' -Farrell on Jackie Bradley Jr. swinging at the first pitch following a walk with the bases loaded.

NOTES:

* Drew Pomeranz recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts

 * Since moving to the leadoff spot, Dustin Pedroia has a slash line of .397/.418/.460 in 16 games.

* Pomeranz has yielded two runs or fewer in five consecutive starts.

* On the just-completed road trip, the Red Sox led in all but one game.

* Thursday's loss was the fourth this season in which the Sox allowed two runs or fewer.

 * The past 18 Red Sox losses have come by a combined 37 runs.

* Until Thursday, the Red Sox had won 20 of their past 31 day games.

* The bottom third of the makeshift Red Sox lineup combined to go 2-for-12.

* The Sox missed out on a chance to have an eight-win road trip, which would have been their first since 2011.

STARS:

1) Jake Odorizzi

The Rays started, facing a depleted Red Sox lineup, limited the Sox to a single run over seven innings, allowing just five hits and getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam by allowing just one run.

2) Mikie Mahtook

Mahtook was 0-for-34 when facing Drew Pomeranz in the seventh inning, but that didn't stop him from doubling home Steven Souza Jr with what proved to be the winning run.

3) Dustin Pedroia

The Sox couldn't generate much of anything at all offensively, but don't blame Pedroia. The leadoff hitter had three hits and a walk and was on base four times for the Sox.