Rapid reaction: Red Sox 6, Rangers 0

August, 25, 2011
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Boston Red Sox completed their road trip with a 6-0 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

The Red Sox finish the trip with a 6-2 record and now return to Fenway Park for a nine-game homestand, beginning Friday night against the Oakland Athletics.

After taking 3 of 4 games against the Kansas City Royals to start this recent trip, the Red Sox did the same against the Rangers. Boston lost the opener here 4-0, but then followed that loss with an explosive three games where they outscored Texas 30-11 on a total of 39 hits.

The victory was also Boston’s 80th of the season. It came in the club’s 130th game of 2011, which is the fastest to 80 wins since 1978, when the Sox accomplished that feat in 127 games. The only other times the Sox have reached 80 wins at an earlier date were in 1912 (Aug. 22) and 1946 (Aug. 16).

Along with this latest eight-game road trip, the Red Sox have spent the last 14 of 17 games away from home and now they’re returning to Fenway for a long stretch.

“I’m glad, but we’re going to get home around 5 in the morning and we’ve got our hands full the next three days, so I don’t think it’s time to take a deep breath. But we’re hanging in there,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

MILLER TIME: Red Sox starter Andrew Miller improves to 6-1 after he worked 6 1/3 scoreless innings and allowed only three hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

“That was fun to watch,” said Francona. “The biggest thing he did was he repeated his pitches. We’ve always seen glimpses, and he just kept going out and repeating. Man, he threw fastball, breaking ball, change-up against a lineup that is pretty dangerous. He did a good job.”

Boston is 9-1 in the left-hander’s 10 starts.

GOING, GOING, GONZO: There’s no doubt Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has his home-run swing back. He belted two on Thursday and now has five in the last three games. Prior to his two-homer night on Tuesday, Gonzalez had gone homerless in 84 at-bats.

“I hit them in spurts; everybody knows that,” Gonzalez said. “When I have a good swing, it’s a feeling you have and you hit them in bunches. I feel good right now and hopefully I can continue to swing like that tomorrow.”

On Thursday, he crushed the ball on the first pitch of each of his first two at-bats. Gonzalez said he was really pleased with his second homer in the top of the third inning, an opposite-field two-run shot.

“I hit that pretty good,” he said. “That’s probably one of the better swings I can take when I stay behind the ball and take it to left center.”

In fact, his last three homers came on the first pitch. Gonzalez becomes the first Red Sox player to hit five home runs in three games since Kevin Millar did it in 2004. Ironically, Millar was at the game. Overall this season, Gonzalez has 23 homers and 102 RBIs.

“He’s a good hitter,” said Francona. “Sometimes they come in bunches and if you could always figure it out and bottle it, it would happen more. It’s a weird game, a humbling game.”

BOOM: Along with Gonzalez’s two blasts, teammates David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia chipped in with a home run each. Ortiz hit his second in as many games to lead off the top of the second inning for his 25th of the season. He has now registered his eighth career 25-homer campaign; the only other Red Sox player with eight or more 25-homer seasons was Ted Williams (14

Saltalamacchia crushed an opposite-field two-run shot in the fourth inning for his 13th of the year.

UP NEXT: The Red Sox open a nine-game homestand Friday night at Fenway Park with veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (6-5, 4.97) set to make the start against Oakland left-hander Gio Gonzalez (10-11, 3.24). This will be Wakefield’s sixth attempt at his 200th career victory. If he’s able to accomplish the feat, he’ll become only the 108th pitcher in major league history and the 89th modern-day player (since 1900) to record 200 wins.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Irene to Southern New England this weekend, the Sox have announced that Sunday's game has been moved to Saturday at 5 p.m. The Red Sox and Oakland Athletics will play a split doubleheader, beginning at noon on Saturday at Fenway Park. The second game will begin at 5 p.m. and there will be no game on Sunday.

Joe McDonald

ESPN Staff Writer



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