August 26, 2011
Going from drought to downpour seemingly in an instant, Boston Red Sox slugger Adrian Gonzalez(notes) snapped an extended power outage during a series against the Texas Rangers that wrapped up Thursday night.
Using the Ballpark at Arlington as his launching pad, Gonzalez cracked five home runs in a span of 10 at-bats over the final three games of the series. The outburst followed a nearly empty stretch of 39 games in which he hit one homer over 179 plate appearances. Gonzalez broke a 22-game homer-less streak Tuesday.
He hit two homers in a 6-0 win Thursday, continuing a surge that Boston rode to three lopsided victories against the AL West leader. Even more impressive is the manner in which Gonzalez hit his final three homers. He did it on three consecutive pitches.
Granted, it didn't happen in one game; that would have been the ultimate locked-in power performance. Still, for him to see, swing and drive three straight pitches out of the ballpark anywhere other than batting practice is pretty remarkable. In fact, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, it's the first time it's been done in the big leagues since Hee Seop Choi with the Los Angeles Dodgers did it back on June 12, 2005.
"I hit them in spurts, everybody knows that," Gonzalez said. "When I have a good swing, it's just a feeling you have. You hit them in bunches, and this is a time right now when I feel good and hopefully I can keep swinging like that tomorrow."
There are few ways to get Gonzalez out consistently even when he isn't swinging for power. Now that he is, just keeping him the yard will feel like a victory. Trust me, I've witnessed a number of the home run binges he referred to during his time in the NL West, and the next team on Boston's schedule could see the confidence of its pitching staff get shattered by a one-man wrecking crew.
Oh, nevermind: It's the Oakland A's. Whatever Gonzalez does to them over the weekend will pale in significance compared to the three grand slams the New York Yankees hit against them Thursday afternoon.