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Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury set a team record with five stolen bases, and the Boston Red Sox took down the Philadelphia Phillies 9-2 on the road to split the two-game series. Starting pitcher Franklin Morales picked up the win in his season debut.
Morales had missed the past 52 games due to a bulging disc in his back, and later, a strained pectoral, but looked sharp in his first appearance of the season. The southpaw struck out two and yielded only four hits in five innings of work.
Phillies’ starting pitcher Jonathan Pettibone was handed his worst start of the season as the rookie was roughed up for four runs in the first inning. It was the first time this season that Pettibone surrendered a run in the first inning and the Red Sox offense never looked back.
A flurry of hits in the first inning was highlighted by a double by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia that drove in two. Jonny Gomes came through with a pinch hit home run in the sixth inning and David Ortiz, who made the start at first base, contributed to the offensive onslaught with a solo home run of his own in the seventh. Ortiz now leads the team with nine dingers on the season.
Outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr., who was recently recalled from AAA Pawtucket, led off a three-run ninth inning with a base hit and eventually came around to score on an RBI groundout by Stephen Drew. Back-to-back doubles by Saltalamacchia and Jose Iglesias drove in two more to cap off a very strong offensive effort by Boston.
However, the greatest offensive force for the Sox in this game was Ellsbury, who exploded for three hits and a record-breaking five stolen bases. Ellsbury’s batting average is now up to .268 on the season and he leads all of major league baseball with 21 stolen bases so far this season.
After Morales allowed two runs on three hits in the first inning, he and the Boston bullpen were lights out, yielding just three hits and zero runs for the remainder of the game. Craig Breslow, Clayton Mortensen, and Junichi Tazawa held the lead and set up closer Andrew Bailey to secure the win in the ninth inning.
The win bumped the Red Sox up to 33-22 overall and expanded their lead in the AL East to two games over the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles. The Sox will travel to New York to take on the rival Yankees – coming off a four-game sweep at the hands of the New York Mets – in a weekend series starting Friday, May 31 at 7:05 PM.