Notes: Gonzalez back on hot streak

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Notes: Gonzalez back on hot streak

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

ARLINGTON, Texas -- As recently as Monday, Adrian Gonzalez had gone all of August without hitting a single home run.

Now, he's got five in his last three games. Talk about streaky.

"I hit 'em in spurts," said Gonzalez. "Everybody knows that. When I have a good swing, it's just a feeling you have and I hit them in bunches. This is a time right now where I feel good."

For the second time in the last three games --and third time this season -- Gonzalez smacked two homers Thursday night, extending his homer streak to three straight games.

Even more impressive, he's hit the last three homers in a span of three pitches.

Gonzalez homered to straightaway center in the first with no one aboard, then hit an opposite-field tape-measure shot to left-center in the third, scoring Jed Lowrie.

"I hit three balls in Kansas City that felt good," said Gonzalez, recalling the last series, "and I've just been trying to build up on that swing.

Now that he's locked in at the plate, Gonzalez exudes confidence, knowing that he can hit even quality pitches hard and far.

"I think that's obvious," said Gonzalez. "When you're not going well, you're not going up there with the same confidence. When you're not feeling well, you're not ready to swing at the same pitch. You might want to see a pitch or two.

"When you're feeling good, your timing's good and your hand path is good and that (helps) the ball to come off you bat better."

Andrew Miller went almost three weeks between starts recently. The way he's pitched in his last two outings, he's making a case to stay in the rotation.

After limiting Kansas City to a single run over 5 13 innings following a 20-day exile to the bullpen last Friday, Miller was even better Thursday, shutting out a strong Texas lineup over 6 13 innings, allowing just three hits.

"As far as going out there and being steady and consistent," he said, "that's what you're looking for. My pitch count was down (83 pitches) and the goal is to help out the bullpen as much as you can. I'll take it and look to build off that."

Miller spent time with pitching coach Curt Young while pitching in relief and made some changes to his stride, which, in turn, enabled him to repeat his delivery more consistency.

"I'm not thinking about that when I'm out there," he said. "I think the bigger (boost) was getting out there in Kansas City after the layoff and once I got a little momentum in that game, that's carried over."

In 10 starts this season, Miller is 6-1 with a 4.33 ERA. The Sox are 9-1 in those 10 starts.

David Ortiz homered in his first at-bat, extending his hitting streak to nine games. The homer was his 25th of the season, making Ortiz just the second player in Red Sox history to post at least eight 25-homer seasons. The other was Ted Williams, who had 14.

Ortiz had been tied with Jim Rice, who had seven.

The Sox are crossing their fingers about the impact of Hurricane Irene.

In addition to shifting Sunday's scheduled game with Oakland to 5 p.m. Saturday, they hope a few of their injured players can begin rehab assignments with minor league affiliates.

Reliever Bobby Jenks (back), who's been in Fort Myers, is now in Salem, Va., hoping to pitch in a Carolina League game Saturday - weather permitting.

Outfielder J.D. Drew, meanwhile, is scheduled to play Friday and Saturday nights for the Lowell Spinners as he readies a return to the roster, having missed the last five weeks with a shoulder impingement.

Drew took batting practice at Fenway Thursday, as did Kevin Youkilis (back), who is still a week away from returning from a DL stint.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Perez's eighth-inning slam, after three walks, lifts Royals over Red Sox, 6-4

Perez's eighth-inning slam, after three walks, lifts Royals over Red Sox, 6-4

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Salvador Perez borrowed a Miguel Cabrera bat from Kansas City Royals teammate Drew Butera for the first time Wednesday.

"It's a magic stick," Butera said.

It was magic for Perez, who hit his first career grand slam, connecting in the eighth inning to rally the Royals over the Boston Red Sox 6-4.

"Miggy gave the bat to Butera when Detroit was playing here," Perez said. "Drew doesn't use it. It's too heavy for him. Today, coming into the clubhouse, I put it in my locker. I like the bat.

"Today was the first day I used it and I'll use it Friday, too, before you ask me. I don't want to break that one. I've got to call Miggy and say, `You've got to send me some more bats.'"

The Royals have won nine of 11 and moved within a game of .500.

Perez homered over the Kansas City bullpen in left field on the ninth pitch from Robby Scott (0-1). With Boston leading 4-2, reliever Matt Barnes started the inning by walking Jorge Bonifacio and Lorenzo Cain on 12 pitches.

"We uncharacteristically lost the strike zone," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "For a group that has been so good at not issuing too many walks over the course of the year, we had an inning that got away from us. Matt was up in the zone. He couldn't get the ball down.

"This one stings because that group has been so good, so consistent for the better part of the whole season."

Scott was summoned to face Eric Hosmer, but walked him on four pitches to load the bases for Perez. The All-Star catcher fouled off three full-count deliveries before hitting his 15th home run of the season.

"I was happy with where the pitch was, but it was too good," Scott said. "There's not much else to say about it."

According to ESPN Stats and Information, Perez was the first Kansas City player to hit a grand slam in the eighth inning or later with the Royals trailing since Frank White in 1986. Perez went 3 for 3 in the win.

Jorge Soria (3-2) worked a spotless eighth. Kelvin Herrera pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 19 chances.

Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts hit successive home runs in the Boston fourth off Ian Kennedy.

Benintendi's drive was estimated at 454 feet and landed in the right-center waterfall. The leadoff homer was Boston's first hit, and the 100th of Benintendi's career.

Five pitches later, Bogaerts went deep to left, tying the score at 2. It was the fourth time this season the Red Sox have hit back-to-back home runs.

"I tried to go inside and the ball just ran back over," Kennedy said of the homers.

Red Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz worked 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and six hits.

Kennedy was removed after 4 2/3 innings, giving up four runs, two earned, three hits and three walks. He has just one victory in his past 17 starts.

Errors by Kennedy and first baseman Cheslor Cuthbert helped Boston score twice in the fifth.

ORTIZ'S CEREMONY

The Red Sox will retire David Ortiz's No. 34 in a pregame ceremony Friday at Fenway Park. "When you consider the careers that are on that facade, the numbers that are up there and the fact that his being done so soon after retiring, I think speaks volumes," Farrell said. "What he's meant to the city, what he's meant to the organization. To see him at the ballpark, see the smile, to hear the booming voice, it will be a good day for us."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia missed his third straight game with rib soreness after being hit by a pitch Sunday. "When he went down to swing in the cage, there's still some restriction," Farrell said. "Hopefully he'll be back in the lineup Friday." ... LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (right knee subluxation) will throw a 30-pitch two-inning simulated game Saturday.

Royals: RHP Nathan Karns (forearm strain) threw off a flat surface, his first time tossing since having a setback 11 days ago. ... LHP Danny Duffy (oblique strain) will throw a bullpen session Friday and could begin a minor league rehab stint next week.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: After a day off Thursday, RHP Rick Porcello will start Friday against the Angels.

Royals: RHP Jakob Junis will start Friday against the Blue Jays.

Pedro's Players' Tribune story: How lobster led the Red Sox to David Ortiz

Pedro's Players' Tribune story: How lobster led the Red Sox to David Ortiz

As David Ortiz prepares to have his No. 34 retired Friday night at Fenway Park, Pedro Martinez, in a piece written for The Players' Tribune, recalls how it was a craving for lobster that led to his meeting with Ortiz and the signing that changed the fortunes of the Red Sox.

Martinez recalls how when he was out with the friends in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in December 2002 and wanted lobster. It led him to a restaurant where Ortiz also happened to be just after Big Papi had gotten the news that the Minnesota Twins had released him.

Martinez said he immediately began trying to reach the Red Sox brass.

"I pulled out my little flip phone right there and started calling everybody I could think of back in Boston," Martinez writes. "But nobody picked up, because they were all in the MLB Winter Meetings. Finally I got to the traveling secretary, Jack McCormick, and I said, “Hey, can you get a hold of Lucchino or Theo or somebody?”

“Listen, I’m in the Dominican and I ran into David Ortiz. He just got released by Minnesota. We need to sign him.”

The rest, three World Series championships later, is history. Culminating with No. 34 being unveiled on the right field facade in a pregame ceremony Friday night.

"I thank God that he made me hungry for lobster stew that night in Santo Domingo," Martinez writes. "Because it gave Boston a championship, and it gave me one of my best friends in the world."