Jacoby Ellsbury(notes) #2 of the Boston Red Sox steals second base against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on August 23, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.

While all of us backseat managers out there sometimes question the decisions that Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona makes, we do listen to what he has to say about anything and everything. One thing he’s been consistent in saying is that as the Red Sox are a more productive team with Jacoby Ellsbury in and at the top of the lineup.

So after missing three games after being hit by a pitch in Friday night’s game in Kansas City, Ellsbury returned to the lineup against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night and announced his presence with authority.

He led off the game with a single and wasted no time with Marco Scutaro at the plate by stealing second base. He would eventually come around to score on an Adrian Gonzalez two-run homer. And in the 5th inning, he made a great running catch which earned him a tip of the cap from the starter John Lackey. Yes, you read that right. 

The boost provided from Ellsbury was just part of a nice offensive night for the Red Sox as they beat the heat and the Rangers 11-5. And with that win coupled with a New York Yankees loss to the Oakland A’s, the Red Sox are back in a tie for first in the AL East.

The offense made sure that Lackey had enough run support (secretly I think Josh Beckett was jealous of it). They scored two runs in each of the first innings and added a single run in the 4th. They put the final touches on the outburt in the 8th with four runs.

It’d been a long time since Gonzo had hit a home run, July 30th to be exact. In that time, he saw Ellsbury pass him in home runs. But with two home runs last night, the 2-run johnson in the 1st and a solo shot in the 4th, he now has 20 on the season and is two behind Ellsbury. Oh and he added another hit as well to finish with three hits to increase his AL-leading average to .346.

Every member of the starting nine had at least one hit last night. Besides Gonzo’s three-hit effort, Jed Lowrie, Ryan Lavarnway and Jarrod Saltalamacchia had two hits each.

Once again, for the most part, Lackey was pretty good at the mound. He hit a rough patch in the 3rd inning when he gave three of the runs back. But with the offensive support he had that little bump in the road didn’t hurt him.

With David Ortiz returning to the lineup tonight, the offense gets a little better. Hopefully they can do what they did last night again tonight in the sweltering heat of Texas.

We’ll be back later today with the lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and more for this evening’s game. But for now enjoy the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you’re on the home page.

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Lackey proves cool in the heat [Boston Globe]

Ortiz gets medical clearance [Boston Globe]

Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez lead Red Sox past Rangers [Boston Herald]

David Ortiz on heels of return [Boston Herald]

John Lackey finding playoff form [Boston Herald]

Ryan Lavarnway glad to be unknown commodity [Boston Herald]

Sox snap funk, beat Rangers, 11-5 [CSN New England]

Return men: Ellsbury back, Ortiz to follow [CSN New England]

Notes: Gonzalez ends HR drought with two [CSN New England]

Lackey: ‘My arm is feeling good’ [ESPN Boston]

Boston Red Sox offense gets welcome reinforcements [ESPN Boston]

Ryan Kalish sidelined again, potentially jeopardizing season [Full Count]

Closing Time: Adrian Gonzalez homers twice as Sox down Rangers [Full Count]

John Lackey rekindles memories of Jack Lazorko, and John Lackey [Full Count]

Video: Adrian Gonzalez Homers Twice in Blowout Win, Says He’s Starting to Find His Timing Again [NESN.com]

Video: Red Sox Prospect Garin Cecchini Feels Connection to Jimmy Fund One Year After Making Eye-Opening Donation [NESN.com]

Adrian Gonzalez Ends Home Run Drought, Signals Potential Offensive Outburst [NESN.com]

Boston finally unleashes Texas TNT [Providence Journal]

Expansion of roster will give Sox a boost [Providence Journal]

Red Sox Journal: McDonald’s bat coming to life [Providence Journal]

Lavarnway gets bonus sessions of Camp Tuck [RedSox.com]

Saltalamacchia impressing former manager [RedSox.com]

The three players who might carry the Red Sox to where they want to go [Rob Bradford – WEEI.com]

Is Lackey making a comeback? [Tony Massarotti – Boston Globe]

For more slices of Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, CSN New EnglandESPN Boston, NESN, Providence Journal, RedSox.com and WEEI websites.

And if you must check out the enemy news, head over to the Dallas Morning News, ESPN Dallas and Ft. Worth Star Telegram websites.

Follow Ian on Twitter @soxanddawgs. And be sure to like us on Facebook as well.

Photo credit: Getty Images