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Gonzalez is closer to his comfort zone

Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds makes an acrobatic play to retire Dustin Pedroia. Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds makes an acrobatic play to retire Dustin Pedroia. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / April 29, 2011

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BALTIMORE — Following Tuesday night’s 4-1 loss to the Orioles, Adrian Gonzalez said he was still searching for something in his swing.

After going 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs in Boston’s 6-2 victory last night, it seems Gonzalez found what he was searching for.

“He said the other day when he got here that his hands felt better,’’ said manager Terry Francona. “It’s a bad feeling as a hitter when you just don’t feel good with your hands. But he said he took a swing his last at-bat, I think when he got that double to left [in the sixth], he said like he was finally using his hands.’’

Gonzalez wound up this three-game set going 6 for 13 with 4 doubles, 3 RBIs, and a run.

Asked if he found what he had been searching for, Gonzalez replied:

“Not quite, but it’s a lot better. I’ve still got a little bit to go to be where I want to be. Still not recognizing pitches and that’s why I’m not being aggressive. But it will all come.’’

When asked if he was still searching for home run power, Gonzalez seemed to bristle at the notion.

“The only thing I care about is RBIs and runs scored,’’ he said. “I don’t care how they come. A home run is just an RBI. I just want to help the team win. I could care less if I hit 10 home runs or 40 home runs as long as I drive in over 100 and help a team win the division. So, it’s one of those things where I’m not too concerned about home runs.

“Those are things that if they come, they come. If they don’t, they don’t. As long as I can take good swings and help the team that’s all that matters.’’

A short visit Francona started Marco Scutaro at shortstop over Jed Lowrie last night. Lowrie was 1 for 8 in the first two games. Scutaro, meanwhile, had a .316 batting average (9 for 16) against Orioles righthanded starter Brad Bergesen.

“Want to keep him productive,’’ Francona said, referring to Scutaro. “Got a lot of history with [Bergesen]. Pretty good success.’’

Scutaro wound up going 0 for 4, flying out to center in his two at-bats against Bergesen.

When Francona releases his lineup today, it’s likely Scutaro will go back to his reserve role.

“I don’t think he’s real happy,’’ Francona acknowledged. “I don’t think I would be. My responsibility is to put the best team out there. You hope players can handle it professionally, which he does. I’m not sure I want him to be completely happy.

“Everybody wants to play, I don’t care who you are. Whether you’re good or not, guys get to this level for a reason . . . But, like I’ve said, he’s been a professional.’’

Youkilis in a jam Kevin Youkilis was removed after the eighth inning as a precaution after he jammed his left hip sliding into second base in the first inning. “Just slid and got a little bit locked up,’’ Youkilis said. “As the game went on, it locked up a little more. It was just a precaution by Tito to take me out. I would’ve made it through to the ninth, I’ve played through a lot of stuff. But it was bugging me and Tito said, ‘Give it a rest so you can play tomorrow.’ ’’ As for tonight’s game against the Mariners, Youkilis said, “Yeah, I’ll be in there, ready to go.’’ . . . While Carl Crawford may have a difficult time unseating Jacoby Ellsbury as the leadoff hitter, especially now that the center fielder is in the midst of a season-high seven-game hitting streak (13 for 32), Francona said he wasn’t likely to move Crawford out of the No. 8 spot until he showed some more production. “I’d like to get him hot and on a roll,’’ Francona said of Crawford, who went 1 for 4 last night. “That would be good.’’ . . . The April 13 rainout against the Rays will be rescheduled as the opener of a day-night doubleheader Aug. 16 at 1:05 p.m. Fans holding tickets to the April 13 game can use them for the early game.

Michael Vega can be reached at vega@globe.com.

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