Published July 14, 2012
| Sports Network
St. Petersburg, FL – David Ortiz hit his 23rd home run of the season and Franklin Morales tossed five scoreless innings as the Red Sox topped the Rays, 3-1, in the opener of a three-game set.
Morales (2-2) held the Rays to two hits and three walks en route to the win. He struck out five.
"Franklin Morales gave us five really strong innings," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine of his starter.
Boston second baseman Pedro Ciriaco went 3-for-3 on the night and is now 10- for-16 on the season with the Sox. He also knocked in a pair of runs for Boston, which had lost six of seven before the All-Star Break.
Jeremy Hellickson (4-6) lost his sixth straight decision after allowing three runs on five hits and four walks in six-plus innings.
Ben Zobrist picked up two doubles and scored a run for the Rays, who have lost four of their last six.
Ortiz gave the Red Sox an early lead when he hit a no-doubt home run to right- center field in the first inning.
"I made a bad pitch there to Ortiz in the first that cost me, but overall I think my stuff was pretty good," remarked Hellickson.
Hellickson lost control in the second inning and loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a hit-by-pitch. Ciriaco capitalized by sending a ground ball up the middle to plate two runs.
The Rays had an opportunity to score off Morales in the fourth when the left- hander walked the bases loaded with two outs, but Luke Scott went down swinging.
The Rays finally got on the board in the sixth inning after Zobrist reached second on a two-base throwing error by Sox shortstop Mike Aviles. Sean Rodriguez roped a double down the third-base line to score him and pull the Rays within two.
Scott Atchison, Andrew Miller, Matt Albers, Vicente Padilla and Alfredo Aceves combined for four strong inning of relief, allowing only an unearned run with six strikeouts and no walks. With a perfect ninth, Aceves recorded his 20th save of the season.
Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was activated from the 60-day disabled list prior to the game and led off, going 1-for-5 with two strikeouts...Boston first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was scratched before the game because of an ongoing illness. He was replaced by Mauro Gomez, who played first base and hit fourth...Ciriaco is hitting .418 (23-for-55) in 35 major league games with Pittsburgh and Boston...Ortiz has hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games...Morales has a 0.93 earned run average (three earned runs in 29 1/3 innings) in 13 road outings this season (three starts)...Boston beat Tampa Bay on Friday the 13th in April, 12-2...The Rays signed first-round pick Richie Shaffer prior to the game...Boston went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and Tampa Bay went 2-for-10.