|Connelly’s Top Ten – Patriots Stink but Exciting; Poor Gronk||Patriots Lose Gronk But Complete Miraculous Comeback to Beat Browns, 27-26||Rob Gronkowski Torn ACL?||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 14 (Playoffs)|
After a few days off during MLB’s All-Star Break, the Red Sox were back to business on Friday night in Tampa with a 3-1 win. Strong pitching stifled the Rays offense and the Sox got on the board early to put the game out of reach. The return of Jacoby Ellsbury was the talk of the town this week, but it was rookie Pedro Ciriaco who was the offensive star of the evening going 3-3 with 2 RBI and a SB.
Boston got the night started in the very 1st inning with a David Ortiz home run (#23) to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. The bat flip wasn’t necessary, but nevertheless. The train kept rolling in the 2nd as Ciriaco, batting 9th, plated two with a single. This would be all the offense they would need as the pitching staff was on its game all night.
Franklin Morales was coming off his worst start of the season (3.1 IP, 6 ER) against the Yankees last Saturday and bounced back quite nicely giving up just 1 ER in 5 IP with 5 K to get his 2nd win of the season. The bullpen shut it down for the rest of the night, allowing no further ER. Matt Albers looked particularly good pitching 1.1 perfect innings with 3 K. Alfredo Aceves tossed a perfect 9th to get his 20th save.
Playing in his first game since April 13th, Ellsbury made his return to the lineup batting leadoff and playing centerfield. While he didn’t blow anyone away with his 1-5 performance, it was comforting to see that he looked sharp, fast and not hampered by his shoulder injury.
W: Franklin Morales (2-2)
L: Jeremy Helickson (4-6)
S: Alfredo Aceves (20)