Gonzo's HR drought ends at the right time


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.

Did Matt Barnes deserve 4 games for throwing at Manny Machado?

Did Matt Barnes deserve 4 games for throwing at Manny Machado?

Bob Ryan and Lou Merloni react to Matt Barnes being handed a 4-game suspension for throwing at Manny Machado, and whether he deserved it.

Matt Barnes gets 4-game suspension for throwing at Manny Machado

Matt Barnes gets 4-game suspension for throwing at Manny Machado

MLB has suspended and fined Boston Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes for throwing at the head of Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. Barnes' suspension will last four games. His fine is an undisclosed amount.

Barnes has elected to appeal, and so his suspension will be postponed until the appeal process has finished.

Barnes' throw at Machado appeared to be a response to the Orioles third baseman's decision to slide cleats up into Pedroia, who left the game and has missed the two games that followed. He's still day-to-day. However, Pedroia vocally disapproved of Barnes' decision.