ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- On Wednesday night, Red Sox cleanup hitter Adrian Gonzalez said he would hit a homer on Thursday, and he nearly accomplished the called shot during Boston's 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
Gonzalez is stuck on two homers this season and hasn't hit one since April 17, a span of 106 at-bats. During his second at-bat, he absolutely crushed a pitch off Rays starter Matt Moore and deposited it into the right-field seats, but the ball went foul.
Gonzalez thought he had it.
"Yeah, it just went foul, but we won the game. I hit the one and I never said if it was going to be fair or foul. It went over the fence, it was a home run," Gonzalez said with a smile. "And we won the game."
If this game had been played at Fenway Park, his shot almost certainly would have curled inside the Pesky Pole for a home run.
"At the last second I wish we had Pesky. Pesky would have been nice in that situation," Gonzalez said.
On the next pitch, he struck out looking.
"Adrian did hit a home run, but it was foul," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said with a smile. "He didn't say it would be fair, did he? So that's over with."
Gonzalez's called shot did have a bit of controversy.
In the early afternoon hours on Thursday, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price retweeted a tweet he received from a fan that read: "Moore should put one right between his numbers."
What Price's Twitter follower was referring to was the fact that Gonzalez predicted after Wednesday's 2-1 loss that he would hit a home run in Thursday's game.
So, with two runners on and one out in the top of the first inning, Gonzalez stepped into the batter's box against Moore and on the first offering, the right-hander drilled Gonzalez in the thigh.
When asked if he thought there was intent to hit Gonzalez in that situation, Valentine said: "If it was it was the stupidest thing I've ever seen in baseball. It might have been, but I doubt it. If we have to resort to that kind of stupidity then maybe the game has passed me by."
Gonzalez didn't think there was intent.
"I think he was just trying to pitch inside," he said. "I don't think he would want to load the bases in that situation. If they did, thank you, because we won the game. Like Bobby said, if that was their intent, hey, keep doing it, it don't hurt."
In the bottom half of the third inning, Red Sox starter Felix Doubront returned the favor and drilled the Rays' Luke Scott in the back, who appeared a little upset with the HBP as he made his way to first base.
Gonzalez grounded out to shortstop in the fifth inning and then just got under one in the eighth inning and flied out to right field.
"I was just out in front by a hair," he said of the at-bat in the eighth. "It was a hanging changeup. It was a good swing."
He said he's not frustrated by his lack of power in the early portion of this season, but he admitted his approach has changed a bit.
"From now on I'm going to try to let it go," Gonzalez said. "I don't care. I'll go up there and see what happens."
The topic of his so-called shot was all in fun the last couple of days. His teammates were ribbing him about it, and it appeared the Rays didn't appreciate it. In the end, Gonzalez was just having some fun.
"It's a fun game," he said. "People can add all this pressure to it, but there's never pressure. You just go out there enjoy it and play it like you're a kid. If there's one thing on our mind every single day, it's to win the game.
"We're not thinking about getting hits. We're not thinking about personal stuff. We're thinking about wins. If we win the game, you're going to see me happy and smiling. If we lose, you're going to see me with a little frown and pissed. There's only one objective and that's winning. We only play to win a World Series and that's the only thing on our minds every single day."