Boston's starting pitching may finally be turning around, going 3-1 on the week. Even that loss — suffered by Jon Lester at the hands of the Atlanta Braves on Friday — was deemed a quality start, with the lefty giving up three earned runs in seven innings of work.
Scott Atchison even got in on the fun, hurling two scoreless innings of relief on Thursday to pick up the win against the Miami Marlins.
But all of those performances fell by the wayside in the wake of what Franklin Morales twirled on Saturday night.
Making his second straight start after replacing the injured Josh Beckett, Morales stifled the Braves lineup for seven innings. He gave up three runs — only two of which were earned — on seven hits, striking out eight and walking just one.
Needing just 86 pitches and throwing 62 of them for strikes, Morales gave the Boston lineup an excellent chance to score enough runs to win. And the batting order did, grabbing an 8-4 win that moved the Red Sox to within 1 1/2 games of the second American League wild card spot.
On the season, Morales is 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA and 37 strikeouts, with most of his appearances out of the bullpen. In his first start last week, he struck out nine en route to a no-decision against the Cubs, giving up two runs on four hits in five innings.