BOSTON -- Ten days ago, Adrian Gonzalez was on a home run tear, clubbing five in the span of four games.
Now the long balls have dried up for the time being, but the hits keep on coming.
Gonzalez was 4-for-4 in the Red Sox' 5-1 win over the Chicago Cubs Sunday night, giving him two four-hit games in the span of his last three. He's hitting .342 for the season.
"I feel good,'' said Gonzalez. "I'm able to swing at the pitches I want to swing at and I'm not chasing too many pitches out of the zone. I'm just trying to execute my game plan.
"You have the same thought process all the time. It's about execution and I've been able to execute. If I know my body's going to respond the way I want it to, I'm confident.''
Gonzalez has had multiple hits in 8 of his last 13 games and is hitting .431 in that span. He now leads the American League in multihit games with 20 and also has seven games three of more hits.
The only hitter in the big leagues with more than two four-hit games this season is Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro.
"He's a really good hitter,'' said Terry Francona, "and he's in a really good period, too. He hits the ball to left field. He fights off pitches and get something he can handle.''
Jarrod Saltalamacchia has seemingly found his power stroke.
The Red Sox catcher launched a homer to left in the fifth inning Sunday night, his second homer in as many games and his third in his last four starts.
"We talk a lot about catching is first and foremost for him,'' said Francona. "But he's starting to add something with the bat, and so is Jason Varitek. If they're sitting there in the ninth spot and hit a ball out every once in a while, or get a couple of hits, it certainly helps us.
"Saltalamacchia looks more confident. He should be -- he's playing better.''
Saltalamacchia has hit safely in five straight games and during that stretch is hitting .389 (7-for-18) and of his last 15 hits, eight have been for extra bases.
The Red Sox are seeing progress with two sidelined pitchers and are encouraged that both may be ready to begin rehab assignments later this week or early next.
John Lackey, sidelined with elbow inflammation, threw on the side Sunday afternoon and will throw a bullpen Tuesday in Cleveland.
"He was really upbeat, which was good to see,'' said Terry Francona.
Bobby Jenks (biceps tendinitis) played catch Sunday and will throw a side session Monday.
Meanwhile, shortstop Marco Scutaro continues to feel some discomfort from a strained oblique muscle and must wait some more before being cleared to begin taking batting practice.