ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Red Sox needed an explosive night at the plate and a solid pitching performance in the second game of this four-game set against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
The Sox received both.
Boston pounded out a total of 14 hits en route to an 11-5 victory over the Rangers.
“It was a good offensive night,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “We started early and kind of stayed at it.”
Red Sox starter John Lackey pitched well too. The right-hander worked 6 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts. He tossed 106 pitches (64 strikes).
“He’s been huge and consistent and you know what you’re going to get,” Francona said. “It’s been great. This is Lackey. It took us a while. His ERA is higher, and it’ll probably be that way, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t gotten the pitcher we want.”
Lackey is now 7-1 in his last nine starts.
“I felt pretty good. My stuff has been feeling good for the last month or so,” Lackey said. “My arm is feeling good. This is a tough place to pitch and to come away with a win is nice.”
Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez went 3-for-4, including a pair of home runs, three RBIs and a intentional walk. The homers were his 19th and 20th of the season and only his second and third since he participated in the Home Run Derby during the All-Star Game festivities on July 11.
Gonzalez delivered a two-run homer in the top of the first inning, a monster blast to the upper deck in the right-field seats to give Boston a 2-0 lead. He added a solo shot with two outs, an opposite-field homer in the top of the fourth, as the Sox moved to a 7-3 lead.
Also contributing to the Red Sox’s offensive onslaught were Marco Scutaro (three RBIs) and Dustin Pedroia (two RBIs). Carl Crawford, Ryan Lavarnway and Jarrod Saltalamacchia all knocked in a run too. Jed Lowrie, Lavarnway and Saltalamacchia all chipped in with two hits apiece.
“It’s a fun way to play, getting contributions all over the place,” Francona said. “It was good.”
WEB GEM: Lackey turned in the defensive play of the game with Boston leading 7-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning. With two runners on and one out, the Rangers’ Yorvit Torrealba hit a hard grounder back up the middle. Lackey snared the ball, fell to his knees and threw a strike to second baseman Pedroia, who quickly made the transfer to first to complete the 1-4-3 double play.
“It was a great play,” Francona said. “He was like a goalie. It was a great play, then Pedey’s turn, it was fun to watch. Then watching Lack’s reaction was even better.”
THE ELLSBURY EFFECT: Red Sox manager Terry Francona has always said Boston is a better lineup when Jacoby Ellsbury is healthy and productive. When Ellsbury gets the line moving from the leadoff spot, the Sox usually have success. That was the case on Tuesday when Ellsbury returned to the lineup after missing three games with a bruised back. He wasted no time and provided a single to lead off the game. He then stole second, reached third on a sacrifice bunt by Scutaro and scored on Gonzalez’s two-run homer. Ellsbury finished the night 1-for-4 with a walk. He also played solid defense and made a spectacular running catch in the bottom of the fifth to rob Ian Kinsler of a possible extra-base hit.
DOWN ON THE FARM: The Pawtucket Red Sox placed outfielder Ryan Kalish on the seven-day disabled list with right trapezius inflammation. He has spent the majority of the season (April 22 to Aug. 8) on the DL with a partial labrum tear in his left shoulder, then dealt with a lingering neck injury. After being reinstated to the lineup, he went 5-for-37 with 10 strikeouts in the seven games he played before this latest trip to the DL. Also, left-handed pitcher Randy Williams was sent outright to Pawtucket following his designation for assignment.
UP NEXT: The Red Sox send Texas native Josh Beckett (10-5, 2.46 ERA) to the mound against Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison (10-8, 3.28). Beckett is 2-2 in his career against the Rangers with a 5.53 ERA in seven starts. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.96 at Texas in four starts.