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Boston at Tampa Bay

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Boston (44-43) «120000000372
Tampa Bay (45-42)000001000160

Ortiz, Ciriaco carry Red Sox over Rays

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- David Ortiz and hot-hitting Pedro Ciriaco helped set what Boston hopes will be a good tone for the rest of the season.

Ortiz homered, Ciriaco had three hits and drove in two runs, and the Red Sox got a strong pitching performance from Franklin Morales and five relievers in Friday night's 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

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"It's nice," said right-hander Matt Albers, who struck out three of the four batters he faced. "That first game out of the break, against our division rival."

Morales (2-2) allowed two hits over five scoreless innings to win for the second time since the left-hander was moved into the starting rotation last month. He walked three and struck out five before being replaced by Scott Atchison, who yielded an unearned run in the sixth.

"It was nine innings of really good pitching," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "Franklin Morales gave us five really strong innings. Put up the zeros."

Ortiz hit a solo homer off Jeremy Hellickson (4-6) in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to a season-best eight games.

Ciriaco has started four games since his promotion from the minor leagues last week and is 10 for 12 with six RBI over the past three, including a two-run single that made it 3-0 in the second inning.

"He blooped a couple more in there, made a good bunt, stole a base," Valentine said. He's playing a very high caliber baseball."

The infielder's success may be catching some off guard, but not Ortiz.

"He showed everybody what he could do in spring training," the All-Star slugger said. "Having him here and doing what he's doing, I'm not surprised."

The fourth-place Red Sox lost six of seven games entering the All-Star break. But with the win before a crowd of 29,089 at Tropicana Field, they pulled within one game of the third-place Rays in the AL East standings.

Ortiz is hitting .440 (11 for 25) with 10 walks during his hitting streak. The Rays walked him intentionally twice, once to load the bases before Mauro Gomez grounded into an inning-ending double play in the seventh.

Sean Rodriguez drove in Tampa Bay's run with a sixth-inning double off Atchison. The hit scored Ben Zobrist, who reached on shortstop Mike Aviles' two-base throwing error.

The Rays went 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position. And, one of those hits was a sixth-inning infield single that didn't drive in a run.

Hellickson, the 2011 AL rookie of the year, has dropped six consecutive decisions following a 4-0 start. The right-hander allowed three runs and five hits over six innings.

Rays manager Joe Maddon felt his young pitcher performed well enough to win. The 25-year-old gave up the homer to Ortiz on a poor 3-1 pitch, and Ciriaco drove in Boston's other runs with a bases-loaded grounder that Hellickson was surprised made it through to center field.

"He pitched well. We just didn't score enough runs to make him look good. ... When you only score one run, your mistakes are glaring," Maddon said.

Alfredo Aceves pitched a perfect ninth for Boston, earning his 20th save in 24 opportunities. Jacoby Ellsbury, activated from the disabled list before the game, went 1 for 5 in his first action since hurting his right shoulder on April 13 while trying to break up a double play.

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who left Boston's final game before the break because of illness, remained out of the lineup. His replacement, Gomez, went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and was charged with a first-inning error when a throw from third baseman Will Middlebrooks appeared to tear through the webbing of Gomez's glove.

Gomez changed gloves, and Morales escaped a jam with runners at first and third when Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton was caught trying to steal second.

The Red Sox starter also worked through tight spots in the fourth and fifth without allowing a run. He walked three straight batters to load the bases with two outs in the fourth, then struck out Luke Scott. Jose Lobaton doubled for Tampa Bay's second hit with one out in the fifth but was stranded there when Morales fanned Elliot Johnson and Carlos Pena.

The Rays wasted another good opportunity after Zobrist doubled leading off the eighth against Vicente Padilla. B.J. Upton hit a sinking liner that Ryan Sweeney went to his knee to catch in right field, and Zobrist ran his team out of a potential big inning when he was thrown out after tagging up and trying to advance to third.

Sweeney threw to cutoff man Aviles, who turned and made a perfect relay to third baseman Nick Punto.

"Ryan Sweeney's play has to be the play of the game," Valentine said. "With Mike's throw and Nick's tag, that's a game saver right there."

Notes

  • The Rays batted .232 as a team before the All-Star break, lowest in team history. They are one of eight teams all-time that have hit as low as that while also reaching the break with a winning record.
  • Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia (right thumb) is taking batting practice.
  • Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz, Saturday's scheduled start, will be making his first appearance since being sidelined by a stomach illness on June 20.
  • Clemson 3B Richie Shaffer, the 25th pick of last month's amateur draft, agreed to a contract with the Rays for a signing bonus of $1.71 million.
  • Boston RHP Andrew Bailey (right thumb surgery) has started throwing off a mound.
  • Valentine said LF Carl Crawford (left wrist surgery, groin strain), currently playing at Triple-A Pawtucket, is getting closer to rejoining the team.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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The Red Sox's David Ortiz hits a solo home run in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to eight games.  (AP)
The Red Sox's David Ortiz hits a solo home run in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to eight games. (AP)

Players of the Game
Boston

P. Ciriaco
AB 3
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
Boston

F. Morales
IP 5.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 3
K 5
 
Boston Red Sox
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF5010024 .194
Daniel Nava, LF3000113 .270
   a- Cody Ross, PH-LF1000001 .262
David Ortiz, DH2111200 .313
Mauro Gomez, 1B4000023 .308
Will Middlebrooks, 3B4000020 .291
    Nick Punto, 3B0000000 .212
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C3110110 .240
Ryan Sweeney, RF3100111 .279
Mike Aviles, SS3010001 .261
Pedro Ciriaco, 2B3032000 .625
Totals3137359  
a-flied out for Nava in the 9th
Batting
2B - Mike Aviles (23, Badenhop)
HR - David Ortiz (23, Hellickson)
SH - Pedro Ciriaco (1)
RBI - David Ortiz (58), Pedro Ciriaco 2 (6)
2-OUT RBI - David Ortiz (13)
SB - Pedro Ciriaco (3, 3rd base off Howell/Lobaton)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Ryan Sweeney 1
DP - Sweeney-Aviles-Punto
E - Mike Aviles (8, Throwing), Mauro Gomez (4, Missed catch of throw)
Boston Red Sox
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Franklin Morales (W,2-2) 5200350 3.16
Scott Atchison (H,5) 0.2110010 1.76
Andrew Miller0100000 2.75
Matt Albers (H,6) 1.1000030 2.29
Vicente Padilla (H,20) 1200010 3.82
Alfredo Aceves (S,20) 1000010 4.23
Pitches-Strikes - Franklin Morales 95-57, Scott Atchison 13-9, Andrew Miller 6-3, Matt Albers 17-12, Vicente Padilla 14-10, Alfredo Aceves 10-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Franklin Morales 4-6, Scott Atchison 2-0
Batters Faced - Franklin Morales 20, Scott Atchison 4, Andrew Miller 1, Matt Albers 4, Vicente Padilla 4, Alfredo Aceves 3
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Elliot Johnson, SS4000021 .270
Carlos Pena, 1B4000021 .198
Ben Zobrist, RF4120000 .253
B.J. Upton, CF3000101 .245
Jeff Keppinger, 2B-3B3010111 .311
Sean Rodriguez, 3B-2B3011121 .222
Luke Scott, DH2000013 .203
   a- Brooks Conrad, PH-DH1010000 .146
   b- Will Rhymes, PH-DH1000000 .232
Desmond Jennings, LF4000022 .227
Jose Lobaton, C4010010 .222
Totals33161311  
a-singled for Scott in the 6th
b-flied out for Conrad in the 9th
Batting
2B - Ben Zobrist 2 (20, Morales, Padilla), Sean Rodriguez (11, Atchison), Jose Lobaton (6, Morales)
RBI - Sean Rodriguez (26)
2-OUT RBI - Sean Rodriguez (10)
CS - B.J. Upton (4, 2nd base by Morales/Saltalamacchia)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Keppinger-Johnson-Pena, Keppinger-S. Rodriguez-Pena
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jeremy Hellickson (L,4-6) 6533451 3.48
J.P. Howell 1100110 3.86
Kyle Farnsworth 1000020 8.10
Burke Badenhop 0.1100000 3.47
Jake McGee 0.2000010 1.82
IBB - Ortiz by Jeremy Hellickson, Ortiz by J.P. Howell
HBP - Aviles (by Jeremy Hellickson)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Hellickson 113-65, J.P. Howell 20-10, Kyle Farnsworth 12-9, Burke Badenhop 3-2, Jake McGee 10-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Hellickson 6-6, J.P. Howell 1-0, Kyle Farnsworth 1-0, Burke Badenhop 1-0
Batters Faced - Jeremy Hellickson 27, J.P. Howell 4, Kyle Farnsworth 3, Burke Badenhop 2, Jake McGee 2
Game Information
Attendance - 29089
Game Time - 3:26
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - James Hoye, First Base - Jeff Nelson, Second Base - Mike DiMuro, Third Base - Jim Reynolds