|Adrian Gonzalez endures a devastating one-day slump||05.06.12 at 9:17 pm ET|
It appeared that Adrian Gonzalez was finding his way. After a slow start to the year, he amassed consecutive three-hit games against the Orioles on Friday and Saturday, improving to .284 with a .350 OBP and .402 slugging mark for the year and looking every bit like a player getting ready to make his impact on the Red Sox.
And then, Sunday happened.
In the Red Sox’ 9-6, 17-inning loss, Gonzalez went 0-for-8 with two strikeouts and grounded into a double play, becoming the first Red Sox cleanup hitter ever to go hitless in eight or more plate appearances. The manner in which his outs were recorded suggested a hitter who had completely lost the feel he showed at the plate the previous two games, particularly in his four at-bats in extra innings.
Gonzalez — who told a team spokesperson that he was not available to talk after the game — recorded weak outs on the first pitch of three straight at-bats, grounding to second while leading off the 10th against Orioles reliever Kevin Gregg, with two outs and the potential winning run on first in the bottom of the 12th against Matt Lindstrom, grounding out to shortstop to lead off the 15th against Jim Johnson and, finally, striking out on three pitches against Orioles DH-turned-pitcher Chris Davis in the bottom of the 17th, at a time when Gonzalez represented the tying run.
In the process, Gonzalez (who, manager Bobby Valentine noted, volunteered to pitch in the late innings) became just the ninth Red Sox since 1918 to endure an 0-for-8 contest. If there is some solace for the first baseman to glean from the career-worst performance, it is in the last Red Sox player to suffer such a day at the dish. Last July 17, Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-for-8 in a 16-inning game against the Rays. Over the rest of the season, he hit .336 with a .385 OBP, .629 slugging mark, 1.014 OPS and 19 homers in 66 games.
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