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Adrian goes yard five times in three games

ARLINGTON -- It was a power surge that fueled the Red Sox, sunk the Rangers and made it almost impossible to fathom that Adrian Gonzalez could have gone 84 at-bats without a home run when he reported to work on Tuesday night.

But there he was on Thursday night, hitting two more rocket shots to lead Boston to a 6-0 victory over the Rangers.

It was some way for the Sox to cap an impressive 6-2 road trip through Kansas City and Texas.

Gonzalez smashed five homers in the final three games of this four-game series.

"I hit them in spurts," Gonzalez said. "Everybody knows that. When I have a good swing, it's just a feeling I have, and you hit them in bunches. It's a time right now when I feel good. Hopefully I can continue swinging like that tomorrow."

After hitting a homer in his final at-bat Wednesday, Gonzalez went deep on the first two pitches he saw Thursday, giving him three home runs on three consecutive pitches.

The five homers in three games marked the first time a Red Sox player had accomplished that feat since Kevin Millar, who pulled it off from July 21-23, 2004.

"It's beautiful -- his swing, the way he starts extending it and driving the ball out there," said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "[In] Kansas City, he hit some balls good. It's a bigger ballpark. I think he's feeling good right now. It's a great time for him to start getting hot again and a great time for everyone to start getting hot."

Just as dramatically as Gonzalez regained his power stroke, so too did the Red Sox reverse their fortunes at Rangers Ballpark.

After Monday night's loss, the Sox had lost 11 of 13 to the Rangers dating back to the start of the 2009 season.

But in the final three games of this series, Boston pummeled Texas' pitching staff, swatting nine home runs and outscoring the Rangers, 30-7.

"The thing was, they whipped our tails for three days," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We couldn't stop them and we couldn't get anything going offensively."

Four of the long balls came in this one. David Ortiz and Saltalamacchia joined Gonzalez in taking Rangers righty Alexi Ogando deep.

There was good news all over the place for the Sox on this one. Lefty Andrew Miller turned in perhaps his best performance of the season, going 6 1/3 shutout innings while allowing three hits. He walked two and struck out six, throwing 83 pitches.

"It was fun to watch," said manager Terry Francona. "I think the biggest thing he did was he repeated his pitches. We've always seen glimpses, and he just kept going out and repeating. Man, he threw fastball, breaking ball, changeup. Again, against a lineup that is pretty dangerous and he really did a good job."

With the win, the Red Sox moved to 80-50, holding their one-game lead over the Yankees in the American League East. It is the first time Boston has been 30 games over .500 this season.

This is the quickest a Boston team has recorded its 80th win since the 1978 club did it in 127 games.

"We're not done yet," said Saltalamacchia. "This is when we've got to step it up. We've got a week left in August and we just have to keep playing like we've been playing."

Gonzalez wasted no time making his presence felt. With two outs in the first, he jumped on Ogando's first-pitch fastball and clocked it 411 feet to center. It was also Gonzalez's 100th RBI on the season.

Ortiz's blast to right in the second made it 2-0.

It was Gonzalez's turn again in the third. After Jed Lowrie drew a one-out walk, Gonzalez swung at another first-pitch fastball and hammered this one even farther -- some 448 feet to left-center for a two-run rocket.

"I hit that pretty good," Gonzalez said. "It's probably one of the better swings I can take, to stay behind the ball and drive it to left-center."

Ogando simply couldn't keep the Red Sox in the park. Saltalamacchia went to the opposite field and poked a two-run shot to left in the fourth, and Miller had a 6-0 cushion.

From there, the lefty did the rest, improving to 6-1 and lowering his ERA to 4.42 -- numbers just about any team would take from their sixth starter.

"We won," Miller said. "That's the goal every time. It was certainly a good game all-around. Offense was great, defense was great. I'm just glad I could carry my weight."

And now, the Red Sox will head home for a nine-game homestand, something particularly sweet after playing 14 of the last 17 on the road.

However, with Hurricane Irene looming, the Sox will play three games in the next two days against the Oakland Athletics, and then get a two-day break before the Yankees come to town.

"This last trip shows a lot about our team," said second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "We came out here, lost the first game and we played three great games. So we have to continue to do so. Go home, and I think we're there for a while, so we have to play well."

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