Notes: Gonzalez still producing despite power dip

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Notes: Gonzalez still producing despite power dip

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
SEATTLE There's no panic in Adrian Gonzalez, and that's one of the things that make him great for the Red Sox.

He's been as good as advertised all season at the plate, but there are some tiny little things that could be construed as concerns when it comes to his offense.

That seems like a pretty peculiar statement, given that the big Boston slugger is leading the American League in batting average (.350) and has turned on enough fastballs to show his quick-wristed power.

But Gonzalez has hit only 2 home runs since July 1, and only 1 in his last 29 games, and is hitting .250 (7-for-28) while managing only one RBI in his last seven games. Thats a fire cry from production the Red Sox have been getting from him all season.

Manager Terry Francona, however, isn't worried.

Sometimes home runs come in bunches. Sometimes they dont, said Francona. I think he was fighting this neck injury early in the year. But I think the good news as that hes still such a great hitter that he can hurt teams in other ways.

That was true Friday night, as he went 2-for-4 with a double in the Red Sox' 6-4 win over the Mariners.

The nice thing from where I sit is that hes not an all-or-nothing guy," said Francona. "He puts the bat on the ball and sprays the ball over the field. Hes just hitting singles right now. We got spoiled when we went though that one period against Toronto in May where he was hitting balls to left field with a lot of power. That was fun to watch, but I dont think anybody really maintain that all season.

Celtics Hall of Fame legend Bill Russell was visiting in the Red Sox dugout at Safeco Field prior to Friday nights game. Boston Mayor Tom Menino also was in attendance after flying to the West Coast on Friday morning.

David Ortiz has homered four times in his last seven games, and is now only one home run away from recording his eighth consecutive 25-homer season with the Red Sox. Ortiz will move out of a tie with Hall of Famer Jim Rice, who had seven 25-homer seasons, on the Red Sox list and sit in sole possession of second place behind the 14 25-plus-homer seasons put together by Ted Williams during his career.

Jed Lowrie ended the longest homerless drought of his career at 44 games with his fifth-inning blast off Blake Beavans. It was his first home run since an April 20 game against the Oakland As that seems like it was six years ago.

Dustin Pedroias sacrifice bunt in the seventh inning was the first sacrifice bunt by a Red Sox cleanup hitter since Ellis Burks did it on Aug. 30, 1990.

Mike Aviles recorded his first RBI for Boston in Friday nights win. He was acquired from Kansas City at the trade deadline.

The J.D. Drew situation is quickly moving to a conclusion of some kind as the oft-injured right fielder took batting practice with the team Friday at Safeco Field and tested the strength of his injured left shoulder.

Drew will keep working out with his Red Sox teammates at Safeco through the weekend, and its expected that the player and team will re-evaluate at the end of the three-game series against the Mariners.

Dont expect Drew to simply get activated and jump back onto the 25-man roster even if everything goes swimmingly through the weekend. It sounds like there may be a decision forthcoming when the team returns to Boston briefly next week.

Drew hasnt played in a game since July 20 and would seem to need a minor-league rehab stint in order to regain his timing. Stay tuned to see what happens with Drew once hes physically able to play.

The Sox have set up their starting rotation for next Tuesday's doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway, and it wont include an outing for lefty Andrew Miller as originally anticipated. Instead Miller may make a start against the Royals in Kansas City next weekend, which would give one of Boston's other starters an extra day of rest.

Jon Lester and Erik Bedard will pitch the doubleheader against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, and John Lackey will pitch the final game of the series on Wednesday.

Miller hasnt made a start since July 31 and a healthy Felix Doubront might be nipping at the leftys heels for a roster spot given his similar ability to start and come out of the bullpen.

Miller is going to be inserted in there most likely in one of the games against the Royals, said Francona. Pitching coach Curt Young and I are kind of sifting through, and we want to use it to our advantage. If one of those guys goes really long in one game then theres a bunch of scenarios. Say Lester or Lackey goes 120 pitches then we could insert Miller and with the days off it brings a lot of possibilities.

Bobby Jenks finally made it to Bostons minor-league complex in Fort Myers and has begun building up arm strength toward a return to the Sox roster. Jenks is slated to throw a bullpen on Tuesday and then will need to throw an additional three bullpens before hes anywhere close to being placed again on the active roster. Its looking more and more like Dan Wheeler is beginning to absorb some of those key innings expected to fall Jenks way when he signed his two-year, 12 million deal with the Sox.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Moreland homers again, Red Sox tag A's to avoid four-game sweep

Moreland homers again, Red Sox tag A's to avoid four-game sweep

OAKLAND, Calif. - A five-run ninth inning for the Red Sox that lasted more than a half-hour derailed any chance Eduardo Rodriguez had of getting his first career complete game.

Not that the left-hander was complaining.

After a bitter loss to Oakland a year ago when he allowed just one hit over eight innings, Rodriguez was more than happy with the way things turned out.

Rodriguez earned his second straight win, Mitch Moreland homered in his third consecutive game and Boston beat the Oakland Athletics 12-3 on Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep.

"I wanted to go back out there but they hit the ball pretty good in that inning and I know I had to get out of the game," Rodriguez said about the long wait. "I'll take it because we score more runs, I have a chance to win. If every inning's like that, I'll get out of the game after five."

Rodriguez (3-1) allowed three runs over eight innings. He struck out eight, walked one and retired 14 of his final 15 batters.

"Where he was with the pitch count, it'd be nice for him to go out there for the ninth inning given where he was and how well he was throwing the baseball," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "But at that point you're up nine, probably about a 35-minute inning, didn't want to take any chances."

Hanley Ramirez and Christian Vazquez had three hits apiece to power a Red Sox lineup that tallied 15 hits. Every player in Boston's starting lineup had at least one hit, and eight of the nine drove in runs.

Chad Pinder homered and drove in two runs for Oakland.

Boston, which hasn't been swept in a four-game series since July 2015, trailed 3-2 before scoring 10 runs over the final five innings.

"It felt we had them on the run a little bit," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They get the lead and then we come back and take the lead again and you feel pretty good. But they were pretty persistent today."

Pinder went deep in the fourth, his fourth home run in eight games and fifth overall.

The A's committed three errors, giving them a major league-leading 42.

BRADLEY'S DEFENSIVE GEMS

Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts gave the A's trouble with his running and defense. Betts scored twice from first base and also made a pair of strong defensive plays. He made a sliding catch on Mark Canha's sinking liner in the eighth and then slammed into the wall after catching Khris' Davis fly to end the inning.

"This place during the daytime plays very difficult," Farrell said. "What Mookie was able to do a couple times in right field, those aren't easy plays. To be able to stay with it, go up against the wall a couple of times, we played very good outfield defense here today."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: Brock Holt continues to deal with lingering symptoms from vertigo and isn't yet ready to come off the disabled list, according to Farrell. Likewise, Boston plans to keep third baseman Pablo Sandoval in the minors to get consistent at-bats while recovering from a right knee sprain. ... Farrell said LHP Drew Pomeranz, who took the loss Saturday, will start against Texas on Thursday.

Athletics: Yonder Alonso (sore left knee) sat out his fourth straight game but could be back in the lineup Tuesday when Oakland begins a two-game series against Miami. ... Sean Doolittle (strained left shoulder) threw on flat ground before making 15 pitches off the mound. The plan is for the former closer to throw 25 pitches on Wednesday. ... Melvin said the team has applied for an extension on Chris Bassitt's rehab assignment. Bassitt underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello (2-5) faces Texas on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park. Porcello has lost three of his last four decisions.

Athletics: Following an off day, RHP Jesse Hahn (1-3) starts against Miami on Tuesday at the Coliseum. Hahn leads the majors in fewest home runs allowed per nine innings at 0.19.