Red Sox notes: Gonzalez shines in debut

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Red Sox notes: Gonzalez shines in debut

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- If you discount the outcome -- which he didn't want to do, of course -- Adrian Gonzalez had a near-perfect debut as a member of the Red Sox.

The newly acquired first baseman had two hits, collected three RBI, made a number of nice scoops on low throws at first base and even added the second stolen base of his career.

But . . .

"We lost the game and that's all that matters,'' said Gonzalez.

Still, it was hard not to come away impressed with Gonzalez individually.

In his first at-bat, he singled to right, scoring Kevin Youkilis from second. In his second, he singled up the middle, scoring two baserunners. Both at-bats came off C.J. Wilson, among the toughest pitchers in the game for left-handed hitters like Gonzalez.

"Lefty, righty . . . it doesn't matter,'' marveled Terry Francona.

And to top off the debut, Gonzalez, who joked often about his lack of speed during the spring, swiped second base.

Francona noticed Wilson and the Rangers weren't holding Gonzalez near the bag and gave him the green light. Gonzalez, surprised, took off and swiped the bag easily.

"It's just a matter of lefties not paying attention,'' said Gonzalez.

Like the steal Friday, Gonzalez's first steal also came when Yorvit Torrealba was behind the plate. Yesterday, he was catching for Texas; in the previous steal, which came on April 28, 2009, Torrealba was catching for Colorado.

The two were teammates last year with the Padres.

Gonzalez said he told Torrealba: "Do you realize my only two career stolen bases are against you? That's why I like you so much.''

The afternoon wasn't as impressive for the Sox' other big-ticket acquisition, Carl Crawford.

Crawford lined softly to short in his first at-bat, then struck out in each of his next three plate appearances. He stranded five runners, including four in scoring position.

"That was a tough day,'' acknowledged Francona. "Wilson carved him up pretty good. There will be a lot better days. Hopefully, it will start tomorrow.''

"Wilson is tough on everybody,'' said Crawford. "You still hope to do well. But he really bore down on us.''

Crawford said before the game that he had some butterflies and worried about trying to do too much in his first game with the Sox.

"I think I was trying as hard as I could,'' said Crawford. "I was probably pressing a little bit, I'm not sure. But it was just one of those things. It was tough on me today.''

If nothing else, Crawford was relieved to have the first one behind him. The rest, he said, he can treat as normal games.

"I'm glad it's over with and out of the way,'' he said. "We can just keep going and play the rest of the games.''

All of last season, David Ortiz hit exactly 2 of his 30 homers off left-handed pitchers. As such, Francona gave some consideration to sitting Ortiz Friday before giving him the opportuninity to get off to a better start this season.

Ortiz looked a little overmatched against Wilson, going 0-for-3 with two weak grounders and a strikeout. But against another lefty, Darren Oliver, brought in to pitch the eighth inning by Texas manager Ron Washington, Ortiz connected, driving a homer to left-center to tie the game -- for a while, anyway -- at 5-5.

"Boy that was a nice swing,'' marveled Francona. "A really nice swing. He stayed back and used his legs. Boy, that was pretty.''

"You got to keep working,'' said Ortiz, "and be consistent in the long run. Hopefully the homer off a lefty is a good sign. I'm going to keep my mouth shut and keep on working. This is not an easy game to play. You've got to come to the game ready to do some damage. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't.

"Oliver has good stuff. You've got to make sure you don't miss when he gives you something to hit.''

Three Red Sox relievers made their debuts, too. Some fared better than others.

Matt Albers pitched an inning and walked one, but got three groundouts. Dennys Reyes was called on to face one lefty hitter -- Josh Hamilton -- and walked him. Finally, Dan Wheeler pitched two-thirds of an inning and retired Adrian Beltre and Michael Young with a runner on first.

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

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels

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Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels:

QUOTES

* “He just had very good command the entire night. Stayed ahead in the count [and] pitched to all quadrants of the strike zone. He used his four-seamer in on some powerful right-handed hitters in their lineup.” John Farrell on Rick Porcello’s performance.

* “We needed a win bad and swung the bats well and played good defense. That’s a big win for us.” Rick Porcello said after his win in an interview with NESN.

* “24 hours ago we were probably in a much different place mentally after a ball game like tonight.” Farrell on the win.

“That was probably the first time I sat on off-speed pitches this whole year. I took a chance, took a gamble.” Jackie Bradley Jr. said on his home run.

NOTES

* Rick Porcello completed his first game in a Red Sox uniform in the 6-2 win. The CG was the fifth of his career and his first since he threw three in 2014. The righty has 14 wins, one win shy of tying his career high.

* Xander Bogaerts had his first multi extra-base hit performance of the season since June 11. He’s only done that twice this season. He extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

* David Ortiz logged his 85th RBI of the season in the win and Mookie Betts his 67th. Heading into Friday night’s game, the two were one of five pairs of teammates ranking in the top 20 in RBI. The list includes Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson, Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story, Adam Duvall and Jay Bruce and Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.

* Dustin Pedroia has now reached base safely in 32 straight games.

STARS

1) Rick Porcello

Porcello had his first complete game in a Red Sox uniform, stopping Boston’s losing skid at four games.

2) Xander Bogaerts

Bogaerts finished with a double and a home run -- the only Boston hitter with multiple hits. He also led the Red Sox with three RBI and scoring twice in the win.

3) Dustin Pedroia

In addition to walking in his first two at-bats, Pedroia had a base hit -- and another walk -- scoring twice on the night.

First impressions of the Red Sox' 6-2 win over the Angels

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First impressions of the Red Sox' 6-2 win over the Angels

First impressions of the Red Sox 6-2 win over Los Angeles:

Rick Porcello is not fazed by his fellow staff members’ struggles.

Although his teammates continue to deal with frustrations on almost a nightly basis, Porcello got the job done and put Boston in a position to win once again.

The second-inning double by Daniel Nava should have been a single, had Jackie Bradley Jr. not misplayed a funny hop. If that hit is a single, the next ground ball is a double -- and the following grounder ends the inning.

One of the most impressive components of his outing was dealing with Cole Kalhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to finish his outing after already facing them three times on the night.

Xander Bogaerts had his first multi-hit game in a week.

Which in the grand scheme of things isn’t a long time -- but that can feel like a long time given the shortstop’s output this year.

It was also his first multi extra-base hit performance since June 11.

Oddly enough, those are his only two games of that kind this season.

In addition to the win, Porcello did the bullpen a favor.

Not necessarily because the relievers needed rest, but with Ziegler’s last two rough nights, they could use a break.

Although Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz got warm late, it was more so to keep them fresh for the coming games since they haven’t thrown much.

Additionally, he gave an example for the Red Sox starting rotation that they are in fact capable of going the distance.

Tim Lincecum is barely a shell of what he used to be.

That first inning was hard to watch. The former Cy Young Award-winner threw eight straight balls, and somehow managed to work past. Even his final throw to first base in he opening frame looked like it was going off the mark.

Just hard to watch in general, which made it all the more shocking that the Red Sox couldn’t score against him.

Good for them that he never adjusted, and they took advantage of it in the ensuing innings.

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Lou Merloni talks about the Red Sox losing 6 out of the last 7 games and if David Price should have stayed in the game for the 9th inning.