This is going to be a long post. A long post means one of two things: either we were so terrible that an especially enormous rant is necessary, or we had a slugfest and I need the time and space to talk about all the runs we scored. It’s the latter. It’s most definitely the latter.
Let’s start with Lackey, who picked up the win. His line was very similar to Bedard’s on Monday. Lackey gave up four runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out five. He gave up a solo shot with two out in the fifth. He threw 106 pitches, sixty-four of which were strikes; for him, that’s pretty economical.
Not coincidentally, he gave up his first three runs in the inning during which he threw the most pitches: twenty-sixth in the third. Three straight singles, a bases-loaded walk, and two sac flies. The home run was on a cutter. His best pitches were his least and most frequently thrown: his fastball and his cutter, respectively. His slider and curveball were obviously decent enough. He used only seven pitches in the fifth, fifteen in the sixth, and eleven in the seventh before he was pulled with two out in the inning in favor of Morales. Morales secured that one out, and then Aceves pitched a scoreless eighth. Wheeler allowed a solo shot in the ninth, which was not an epic disaster because, like I said, we were slugging.
Here’s the fun part.
It started with Ellsbury, who singled on the second pitch of the game. He stole second and moved to third on a sac bunt by Scutaro. Tito was clearly happy about his health:
He’s back about six seconds, and he’s standing on third.
Then Gonzalez stepped up, both literally and figuratively, and blasted one out of the park. It was a slider that he put in the second deck in right field. He came into the game with an eighty-four-at-bat power drought and had hit only one home run in his last 155 at-bats going all the way back to July 8. Not any more. And he just looked more confident and more at ease at the plate. He looked more Adrian Gonzalez-like. And he was just getting started.
Two consecutive singles and a strikeout opened the second. Salty brought in one with a double, Ellsbury was intentionally walked, and a sac fly by Scutaro brought in another.
A groundout opened the third, followed by two consecutive singles. Crawford brought in one with a sac fly, and Lavarnway brought in another with a double.
Heading into the bottom of the third, the Rangers were in a six-run hole. That was when they scored their three runs. In the long run, those three runs barely even made a dent.
Gonzalez came roaring back in the fourth with another home run. It was the third pitch of the at-bat; all three were cutters. It ended up in the seats in left center field. It barely got out. But out is out.
As if his offensive production weren’t enough proof that he’s healthy, Ellsbury made one of his signature running, leaping catches for the first out in the inning. Coming off the bat, you were thinking that that ball was going to land in the gap, which is why you knew that somehow Ellsbury was going to find some way to haul it in. Lackey even tipped his cap, a very nice gesture indeed.
We didn’t score at all until the eighth, when we added on four more. A flyout, a single, a double, a groundout, a double – the ball bounced off the top of the padding on the wall in left; Tito thought it was a homer but the call withstood review – that brought in two, a hard-earned intentional walk to Gonzalez, and a double that brought in two more.
All nine starters collected at least one hit en route to the 11-5 crush. Lowrie, Lavarnway, and Salty all went two for five. But it was Gonzalez who stole the show. He went three for four with a walk, three runs, and three RBIs. He hit home run numbers nineteen and twenty for the twelfth multi-homer game of his career; the two home runs traveled a grand total of 806 feet. He is now batting .346 with ninety-seven RBIs. So Ellsbury’s back, Gonzalez seems to be back, and Papi will be back today. It’s all just coming back together.