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Gonzalez Homers Twice in 11-5 Win Over Texas

Adrian Gonzalez (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Red Sox slugger Adrian Gonzalez belted a pair of home runs, his 19th and 20th shots of the season, in Boston’s 11-5 triumph over Texas at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas. The win was the Red Sox first victory at Texas since August 14, 2010, and improves the squad’s record to 78-50 on the season.

Gonzalez returns to form

Despite being marred in a power outage since July’s All-Star break, Gonzalez ignited the Red Sox lineup with a 3-4 effort. The off-season trade acquisition knocked in three Boston runners, while scoring three times himself. In the first, Gonzalez took a 2-0 C.J. Wilson offering, blasting the pitch into the upper deck to give Boston an early 2-0 lead. Gonzalez reciprocated in the fourth, crushing a 1-1 pitch the opposite way for a solo homer to extend the Red Sox advantage to 7-3.

He joins Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz as the Red Sox batters with 20+ home runs. Gonzalez’s trio of hits is his also 22nd three-plus hit effort of the year.

Offense awakens

Struggling of late, the Red Sox lineup powered its way through Texas pitching en route to 11 runs on 14 hits. The Sox crushed Rangers’ starter C.J. Wilson, roughing up Wilson to the tune of seven runs in six innings. Wilson allowed a pair of runs in each of the first three innings before eventually settling down.

Every Boston hitter recorded a base hit, while 3B Jed Lowrie, DH Ryan Lavarnway and C Jarrod Saltalamacchia each had multiple hit performances.

Lackey answers the call

Beleaguered starter John Lackey held the Rangers’ offense in check, limiting the powerful lineup to just four runs, all earned, on seven hits and three walks. Lackey mustered his way through 6-2/3 tough innings, fanning five Rangers batters to improve to 12-9 on the year. The outing lowers Lackey’s 2011 ERA to 5.98, his first time under 6.00 since April 30.

Sox strike early

Gonzalez’s two-run homer in the first gave the Red Sox an early 2-0 edge, but that was just the beginning of Boston’s offensive barrage. After holding the Rangers scoreless in the first, Boston’s lineup scored twice in the top of the second to double its advantage to 4-0. Lowrie and Carl Crawford led off with a pair of singles before Lavarnway struck out struck out for the first out. Saltalamacchia was up next, and promptly doubled to right to score Lowrie and advance Crawford to third. Following an intentional walk to Ellsbury, Marco Scutaro drove home the fourth run of the evening with a sacrifice fly to center to score Crawford.

After another scoreless Rangers’ half inning, Boston continued to rake in the third. Josh Reddick and Lowrie both smacked one-out singles, putting runners at the corners for Crawford. The struggling outfielder delivered, driving a Wilson offering to right for the RBI sacrifice fly. The Red Sox weren’t done however as Lavarnway doubled to center to score Lowrie for the 6-0 lead.

Rangers’ rally with three-run third, Hamilton HR

Down 6-0 early, the Rangers’ would not go down without a fight, scoring three times in the home half of the third to cut the lead to 6-3. With no outs, Yorvit Torrealba, Endy Chavez and Ian Kinsler all singled to load the bases for Elvis Andrus, who walked to score Torrealba for Texas’ first run. Following a mound visit, Lackey surrendered a pair of RBI sacrifice flies to Josh Hamilton and Mike Young to score Chavez and Kinsler, before inducing a Nelson Cruz ground out to end the frame.

Following Gonzalez’s second shot of the night in the fourth, Hamilton exploded with some pop of his own, sending Lackey’s pitch over the right-field fence to bring the score to 7-4.

Boston pulls away

The Red Sox added a quartet of insurance runs in the eighth, scoring four times off Rangers’ relievers to extend their advantage. Lavarnway singled with one out and advanced to third on a Saltalamacchia double. Ellsbury grounded to first for the second out to bring Scutaro to the plate, who doubled in both runners for a 9-4 lead. Gonzalez was intentionally walked for Dustin Pedroia, but the move backfired on the Rangers as Pedroia drove in the Red Sox final two runs of the night with a double to left.

The Rangers scored their final run of the night in the last of the ninth, receiving an innocuous home run from Kinsler to provide the final 11-5 margin.

Race for the AL East

Boston’s win, coupled with the Yankees 6-5 loss to Oakland, brings the Red Sox to a tie with New York for the division lead. The Yankees will trot ace southpaw C.C. Sabathia to the mound tomorrow, opposed by Athletics’ starter Trevor Cahill.

Looking ahead

Wednesday’s third game of this four-game set will see Josh Beckett (10-5, 22.46 ERA) toe the rubber for the Red Sox, matched by Matt Harrison (10-8, 3.28 ERA) of the Rangers at 7 p.m.

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