By Sean McAdam
NEW YORK -- Adrian Gonzalez has been on a tear at the plate of late, hitting six homers in his previous nine games before Friday night.
Most of those have been hit to the opposite field, with Gonzalez taking particular advantage of the inviting left field wall at Fenway.
But Friday night, when Gonzalez belted yet another homer, he hit this one to right, into the second deck in Yankee Stadium.
"Bartolo (Colon, Yankee starter) was going to pound me in,'' said Gonzalez. "I knew that. He wasn't going to give much away to go the other way, so my game plan was to try and choose my spots to try to look for a pitch that I could drive to right field. After ball one, I thought that would be a good spot and I think he left it more middle-in than I think he wanted to.''
Gonzalez has homered in each of his last three games, in four of his last five games and in six of his last 10.
Daniel Bard had a rocky eighth inning, but managed to survive, standing two runners in scoring position after the Yankees had pulled to within two runs at 5-3.
Bard gave up a triple to Curtis Granderson, then tossed a wild pitch, allowing him to score.
After a popup by Mark Teixeria for the first out, Bard then walked Alex Rodriguez and hit Robinson Cano. When both took off on the bases, the Yanks had runners at second and third and one out.
But Bard then fanned Nick Swisher and after falling behind 3-and-0 to Jorge Posada, he came back on a full count and got Posada to hit a grounder to second for the third out.
"That's the loudest I've ever heard a crowd when they had guys at second-and-third,'' said Bard. "There's no shortage of adrenaline, that's for sure. It's just a matter of comtrolling it.
"I do have confidence in my fastball. We got to 3-and-0 and we went with three heaters away. Those were the three best executed pitches I made the whole inning. It was good to gather myself there and execute when I needed to.''
The Soxgot some good news on Pawtucket outfielder Ryan Kalish, who has beensidelined for the last few weeks with a labruminjury.
Kalish visited with team physician Dr. Thomas Gill, who sawimprovement in the shoulder. Kalish will report to extended spring inFort Myers and begin baseballacitivities.
"Dr. Gill was really impressed with his shoulder strength,"said general manager Theo Epstien. "He was really optimistic about things, so he's going togo to Fort Myers and continue his rehab. As long as the progresscontinues without any major interruptions, it looks like he's on a pathto recovery without surgery. That's what we were hoping for, but younever know until you actually rehab.''
As the Soxcontinue to play under .500 in the second month of the season, Epsteinis open to finding ways to improve the club. But it's unlikely anythingwill come from outside the organization, at least for awhile.
"Ithink, realistically, there aren't that many opportunities to do thatthe first third of the season,'' he said, "so you spend a lot of timebeing internally focused on ways to get better, ways to get the mostout of the talent we do have, ways to execute and play better baseball,play better fundamental baseball, to get the most out of ourplayers.
''We take a broad view of what we can accomplish on thebaseball field, fundamentally, and then go execute it. A lot of it isdictated by opportunity. You're not going to make a blockbuster tradein April, for the most part, or May. Usually that's something for themiddle third of the season."