By FRED GOODALL AP Baseball Writer
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ David Ortiz hit his 23rd homer and
Pedro Ciriaco had three hits and drove in two runs Friday night,
helping the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1.
Franklin 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. The left-hander walked three
and struck out five before being replaced by Scott Atchison, who
yielded an unearned run in the sixth.
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 RBIs over the
past three, including a two-run single that made it 3-0 in the
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 drove in Ben Zobrist, who reached on
shortstop Mike Aviles’ two-base throwing error.
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.
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
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
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.
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. … Boston manager Bobby Valentine said LF Carl
Crawford (left wrist surgery, groin strain), currently playing at
Triple-A Pawtucket, is getting closer to rejoining the team.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)