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For Gonzalez, a frustrating night

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  May 3, 2012 12:34 AM

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Adrian Gonzalez is one of the best hitters in baseball because, among other things, he has great poise at the plate. So it was a unusual to see him slam his bat into the ground after striking out with the bases loaded to end the seventh inning.

Then again, it's unusual to see him hitless in 17 straight at-bats, too. That's his longest skid as a member of the Red Sox.

The missed opportunity, one of many on the night for the Red Sox, helped lead to a 4-2 loss against the Oakland Athletics.

The Sox were hitless in 13 at-bats with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base. The cold night ended with Gonzalez grounding out with Dustin Pedroia at second. That's three losses in four games for the Sox.

“This game is all on me. I had two great opportunities and I didn’t come through,” said Gonzalez, who is hitting .250.

Bobby Valentine’s theory is that Gonzalez is tired, having played all but three innings this season.

"His timing and recognition of the strike zone is just a little off,” Valentine said. “He’ll be fine.”

Gonzalez shunned that excuse.

“Not at all, not at all. I feel great,” he said. “It’s one of those things that it’s just two at-bats, I should have come through at least one of those times and I wasn’t able to. I feel great physically, I feel great. I’m not tired at all. I just didn’t come through.”

Gonzalez agreed with Valentine about his timing.

“I’m just a little late on fastballs, just a little early on off-speed pitches. It happens,” he said. “I’m a guy that goes off of feel and what I feel now. You can’t go back and try to regain what you had two, three, four years ago.

“I’ve gone through a lot worse things than I’m going through now. It’s just four games. At the end of the day, I’m always going to have the right approach, I’m always going to be prepared and I’m always going to be looking for a pitch that I’m going to drive. I haven’t been able to do it these last four days but it will change come Friday.”

Daniel Bard (2-3) allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings to take the loss as the Sox fell to 4-7 at Fenway Park. He allowed eight hits, walked two and struck out one.

After striking out 19 over 18 2/3 innings in his first three starts, Bard admitted he was “bewildered” by his performance.

“I had a hard time putting guys away,” he said. “Especially early in the game, I was getting to a lot of 0-2 and 1-2 counts and would make those pitches on the edges of the zone and for whatever reason wasn’t getting chases. They would foul them off and work it until I left something over the plate.”

A few notes:

• Brandon McCarthy (2-3) pitched into the seventh inning for the win. He is 8-0 with a 3.34 ERA in his last 13 starts against American League East teams. Once the Athletics conduct their next yard sale of talent that is too pricey, that statistic is sure to be remembered.

• Ryan Sweeney has 12 doubles. That's one more than he had with Oakland all last season. He leads the majors in two-baggers.

• How about Clayton Mortensen? The guy who was gained in the Marco Scutaro salary dump allowed a single then retired nine straight, six by strikeout. Believe it or not, Sox relievers have allowed two earned runs in their last 28 innings.

• Will Middlebrooks was 2 for 3 with a walk and a double in his debut. It didn't show Wednesday night in the result, but some youth can only help the Sox. See more in the Globe Thursday on Middlebrooks.

By the way, the last Red Sox player to reach base three times in his debut was Morgan Burkhart in 2000. In case you were wondering, Ted Williams was 1 for 4 and fanned twice. He faced Red Ruffing.

• David Ortiz is hitting .488 (21 of 43) at Fenway. He's at a silly .391/.441/.707 on the season. It's only 24 games, but a 1.148 OPS? Holy smokes.

• The Sox have scored 1 run or less with Bard on the mound in three of his four starts.

The Sox are off tomorrow and so is your friendly neighborhood beat writer. But there could be a post or two.

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