Notes: Gonzalez ends HR drought with two

Notes: Gonzalez ends HR drought with two
August 23, 2011, 11:56 pm
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By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Adrian Gonzalez had gone the entire month of August without a homer, and, in fact, had just one homer since July 7 before Tuesday, dating back 146 at-bats.

But in the span of three at-bats Tuesday, Gonzalez swatted two homers -- the first ending an 84 at-bat homerless streak -- in the Red Sox' 11-5 win over Texas.

"It didn't matter," insisted Gonzalez of his homer drought. "I was getting on base, hitting for average and the main thing is we're in a good position to be in the playoffs."

Gonzalez said he had some good at-bats in Kansas City and felt his swing was starting to come around.

"Kansas City is a big park," he said. "I hit some balls good to left field that were outs on the (warning) track. I've been feeling better lately."

The second homer Tuesday was to the opposite field, which Gonzalez termed "my swing. If I can stay with it, that's when I'm going well. Hopefully, I can continue that."

The two-homer game was Gonzalez's second this season and 12th of the season. The second homer gave him 20 for the season, marking the sixth consecutive year he's reached that milestone.

As nice as the two homers were, Gonzalez was just as pleased with a single he had against lefty Darren Oliver in the seventh inning.

"I haven't had an at-bat like that against a lefty in a while," said Gonzalez. "I've been getting hits, but not in an at-bat where I battle and I'm able to stay through a ball and come up with a base hit like that.

"Hopefully, I can continue that swing and I can get on a little bit of a hot streak."

John Lackey, who gave up four runs in 6 23 innings, notched his 12th win of the season -- second-best on the staff -- and improved to 7-1 in his last nine starts.

"I thought he really pitched well," said Francona of his starter. "(He's providing) consistency. When you know what you're going to get, (it's great). This is Lackey. It took us a while and his ERA's higher (5.98) and it's going to be that way (because of his poor start to the season). But it doesn't mean we don't have the pitcher we want."

"I felt pretty good," said Lackey. "My stuff's been good the last month or so and my arm's feeling good. This is a tough place to pitch. Just to get away with a win is nice."

Lackey was given a 6-0 jumpstart by his teammates through the top of the third, but gave back three of those runs in the bottom of the third on three hits, a bases-loaded walk and two sacrifice flies.

"Five or six runs is not a big lead in this joint," joked Lackey. "But I'm feeling pretty good. I'm winning some games and contributing. That's always nice."

Outfielder Josh Reddick, who had been hitting as high as .360 a few weeks ago, has slumped in recent weeks and went into Tuesday's game hitting .293.

On the current road trip, Reddick was just 2-for-14. Since Aug. 1, Reddick was hitting just .214 with an OPS of .606.

"I don't know that he was ready to be a .360 hitter," said Francona. "Guys play and get hot, then the league makes their adjustments. Now, it's his turn. I think some pitches that he hit earlier, he's been fouling back. And he's left the strike zone a little bit. But he's still swinging pretty aggressive.

"If he swings at strikes, he's going to be fine. He's going to do some damage. He might not hit .360, but he's going to be OK. I just think . . . when you're playing once or twice a week, you might not get that (hard to hit) breaking ball. But when you're out there every day and you're racking up at-bats, you see it more often."

Francona said the Sox have had some internal discussions about Sept. 1 call ups.

Rosters will expand from the current 25 to as many as 40 next Thursday.

The Sox' situation is somewhat complicated by the fact that Triple A Pawtucket will be in the post-season and the organization would like some of the players to get a feel for the playoff atmosphere before being summoned to Boston.

In addition to activating Bobby Jenks and J.D. Drew from current DL stints, the Sox will likely call up shortstop Jose Iglesias, pitcher Junichi Tazawa, utilityman Drew Sutton, catcher Luis Exposito, lefty Felix Doubront and right-hander Kyle Weiland.

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