ARLINGTON -- The power outage that had kept Adrian Gonzalez in the park for 84 at-bats ended loudly on Tuesday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
And as Gonzalez erupted for a pair of home runs that traveled a combined distance of 806 feet, the rest of the recently-quiet Red Sox's offense seemed to follow suit in an 11-5 victory over the Rangers.
Dating back to July 8, Gonzalez came into this one with just one home run over his last 155 at-bats.
But in his first at-bat, with one out in the top of the first, he clocked a majestic 404-foot shot into the upper deck in right. And in the fourth, Gonzalez went to left-center for a solo blast that gave him the 12th multihomer game of his career.
The first baseman, one of the leading candidates for the American League Most Valuable Player Award, is hitting .346 with 20 homers and 97 RBIs after a 3-for-4 night.
"You can't control that," Gonzalez said of his recent lack of power. "I'm hitting for average this year, or a higher average. If I wasn't hitting for average and not hitting home runs, I'd be worried about it. But I'm getting on base, hitting for average, you know. The main thing is we're in a good position to get in the playoffs."
But Boston's postseason push will certainly be aided if Gonzalez gets back on the type of power tear he had in May and June.
Gonzalez looked effortless on his two home run swings against Rangers righty Colby Lewis.
"That's basically his swing right there," said hitting coach Dave Magadan. "He drove a ball to the pull-side without trying to pull-side. It was a hanging breaking ball and he just reacted to it and hit it out. He got a fastball out over the plate and drove it the other way. When he's doing that, he's as tough an out as there is in baseball."
While Boston's lineup was without David Ortiz (right heel bursitis) for one more night, Jacoby Ellsbury (back bruise) returned from a three-game absence and immediately sparked a rally by leading off the first with a single and stealing second. He advanced to third on a bunt by Marco Scutaro, and then Gonzalez hit that prodigious blast to make it 2-0.
"He's back about six seconds and he's standing on third," manager Terry Francona said of Ellsbury. "That was nice. It's nice to see him healthy. He makes the play in center. He's moving around. He impacts us a lot, obviously."
Jed Lowrie, Ryan Lavarnway and Jarrod Saltalamacchia all added multihit games. All nine Boston starters had at least one hit.
All the offensive heroics helped make a winner out of John Lackey, who braved the triple-digit Texas heat (it was 103 degrees at game-time) to grind through 6 2/3 innings against a fearsome Rangers' lineup. Lackey allowed seven hits and four runs, walking three and striking out five. He ran his record to 12-9 and lowered his ERA to 5.98.
"I like hot, but I don't think anybody likes to pitch here, honestly," said Lackey, a native of Abilene, Texas. "This place is pretty tough, for a lot of reasons. The ballpark, they've always had a good lineup here. But with the offense we're bringing in with us, you feel a little more confident than I have a few times in the past."
The win put the Red Sox back into a tie with the Yankees for first place in the AL East.
The victory was a satisfying one for Boston in that it ended an 0-4 slump in Arlington. In fact, the Red Sox had lost 11 out of 13 at the Ballpark since the start of the 2009 season.
There's a chance the teams will meet up again in the postseason.
"I don't think we're looking that far ahead," Lackey said. "It's nice to win ballgames. This is a tough place to play. To win a game is a nice accomplishment, but you can't get too far ahead of yourself."
Lackey had a steady stream of offense at his back in this one. Lowrie and Carl Crawford opened a second-inning rally with singles, and Saltalamacchia drilled a one-out RBI double to right. Scutaro's sacrifice fly to center made it a 4-0 game.
Lewis simply couldn't find any answers to contain the Boston bats. Josh Reddick and Lowrie hit one-out singles in the third. Crawford got Reddick in with a sacrifice fly. Lavarnway drilled an RBI double to left, and Lackey had a six-run cushion.
"Five or six runs is not a big lead in this joint," said Lackey.
Back came the Rangers in the bottom of the third. Lackey walked Elvis Andrus with the bases loaded, getting Texas on the board. Josh Hamilton and Michael Young followed with sacrifice flies, making it a 6-3 game.
But instead of utilizing his team's rally as momentum, Lewis gave a run right back, as Gonzalez belted his second missile, this one a solo shot that traveled 402 feet to center.
"The first home run was a mistake -- a 2-0 slider that I was just trying to get down and didn't," said Lewis. "The second was a good pitch, fastball down and away. That's why some guys get paid $15 million to hit."
Hamilton answered that homer with one of his own in the bottom of the fifth, a 396-foot solo blast to right. Again, Boston's lead was down to three.
Lackey helped snuff out a Rangers threat in the bottom of the sixth when, with two on and one out, he went through his legs to field a grounder off the bat of Yorvit Torrealba and started a 1-4-3 double play.
Caught up in the moment, Lackey pumped his fist as the play was completed.
"I'm trying to win, man," Lackey said. "[Heck] yeah, I get fired up about anything."
The Red Sox had their firepower back, and Ortiz will bring more back to the mix on Wednesday.
"It's great," said Gonzalez. "Jacoby being in the lineup is huge. Papi being in the lineup tomorrow is big as well. The big thing is being healthy going into the playoffs, and hopefully we'll be in the playoffs if we keep winning. We just want everybody healthy."