I really hope last night’s contest was a sign of things to come now that we’ve had a chance to rest and regroup ourselves over the All-Star break. We had a couple of days off, which was really nice, and from the way we played last night, I think they did us good. True, the game was close, but it didn’t have to be a slugfest in order for us to see that our guys looked refreshed.
Winning wasn’t the only good news we got last night. Ellsbury is officially back in action! It’s been almost exactly three months since he hurt his shoulder, but he’s back, and he looked as good as he could under the circumstances. Look for him to not immediately start every game, though. Bobby V. might want to take it slow in the beginning. Buchholz, we know, is also off the DL and will make his next start.
Anyway, the final score was 3-1. On the pitching end of things, we basically rolled out the staff for this one. Morales picked up the win and pitched five shutout innings, recording two hits, three walks, and five strikeouts. He threw ninety-five pitches. So he labored through it, but luckily he kept his head down and put us in a position to win all the way through.
Atchison, Miller, and Albers then combined to pitch the sixth. Albers also pitched the seventh, and then Padilla pitched the eighth and Aceves pitched the ninth. All the pitchers received holds except Miller, who failed to record an out, and Aceves, who got the save.
The Rays’ lone run was scored on Atchison’s watch in the sixth. Aviles made a high throw to Gomez for an error, which resulted in one on first, and two outs later Atchison gave up a double that brought the run in. So it was unearned, but still.
On the hitting end, we didn’t waste time and scored all three of our runs within the first two innings, one the first and two in the second, appropriately enough. Ellsbury began the game by flying out on his fourth pitch, but it was nice to at least see him arc one all the way out there. With two out, Papi hit a solo shot on his fifth pitch, a ninety-mile-per-hour cut fastball middle in, toward the back of the seats in right. And everyone know it was a homer as soon as the ball left the bat. I mean, he flipped that bat aside like there was no way in the world that ball was staying anywhere near the field. But that’s what happens when you try to sneak fastballs by Papi.
With one out in the second, two straight walks followed by a hit batsman loaded the bases for Ciriaco, who singled in two. That was really it for us in terms of threats as well; we didn’t constitute any special threat in any other inning.
We had only one multi-hit performance last night, but it was a big one. Ciriaco had a perfect day at the plate, going three for three with two RBIs and a stolen base! I’m telling you, this kid is really impressing at the big-league level. Salty, Papi, and Aviles also each had hits, with Papi’s homer and Aviles’s double being our only two out of seven total for extra bases. And Ellsbury went one for five with a single in the seventh.
It’s good to be back. It’s good to have people back off the DL, and it’ll be good to have that added production and play out there in the field. It’s good to start the second half in a good way. And I hope it’ll be good to watch the second half play out.