Red Sox Live Blog: Franklin Morales Closes Out 4-2 Win, Sox Finish Up in Florida


Red Sox Live Blog: Franklin Morales Closes Out 4-2 Win, Sox Finish Up in Florida

Final, Red Sox 4-2: That one's in the books for the Red Sox. Now it's just a couple of more warmup games before Opening Day.

Mid 9th, Red Sox 4-2: Franklin Morales shuts the door, locks it and throws away the key. OK, he really just got a save.

He capped it with a strikeout and seemed pretty pumped. After all, he missed a lot of spring training time early on.

Bottom 8th, Red Sox 4-2: Blast from the past here with Brad Lidge taking the mound against the Red Sox as he adjusts to life without the Phillies.

He's throwing against Boston's minor leaguers, though. But he got through the inning with a strikeout and walk.

Top 8th, Red Sox 4-2: Matt Albers' up-and-down spring continues, as he gives one back in the eighth inning.

Ian Desmond hit a line-drive single to plate Steve Lombardozzi to cut the Sox lead to two, as they now lead 4-2.

Bottom 7th, Red Sox 4-1: Another day, another base hit for Pedro Ciriaco. The utility man saw his average jump to .429 for the spring with a single in the bottom half of the seventh.

He then added a stolen base on the back end of a double steal for good measure.

Alas, Tyler Clippard was able to strike out Nick Natoli to get out of the jam.

Top 7th, Red Sox 4-1: Mark Melancon, a possible replacement to step into the closer role after Andrew Bailey's injury, worked the seventh for the Sox and fared pretty well.

The right-hander collected a pair of strikeouts and was able to work around a two-out single from Chad Tracy to work a scoreless frame.

Melancon was 20-for-25 last season in save opportunities with the Astros.

Bottom 6th, Red Sox 4-1: Jason Repko continues to make his case to win a utility spot on the roster.

He doubled to drive in a run to give the Sox a three-run lead. He's been trying to do all the little things to snag a spot.

With the health issues within the pitching staff — mainly Bailey and Beckett — it seems that last spot on the 25-man roster could go to a pitcher now. If not, it'll probably be between Repko, Pedro Ciriaco and Nate Spears.

Bottom 5th, Red Sox 3-1: Adrian Gonzalez has quietly assembled a good spring training campaign, elevating his batting average to .357.

He's 2-for-2 with a walk and one run in this one. It's good momentum for him as he moves forward.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 3-1: The ground ball fest continues for Aaron Cook. This time around, all three batters that faced the sinkerball grounded out.

It made for a quick inning. The other asset Cook has is that pitching at sea level — as opposed to above sea level in Colorado — will help his breaking ball become more effective.

As time goes along, we'll see for sure.

Bottom 4th, Red Sox 3-1: The top of the lineup produced runs just like they were expected. After Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz got on base, Kevin Youkilis belted a sharp groundout that drove in Gonzalez.

Then, McDonald continued his impressive spring, hitting an RBI single to drive in Ortiz. Mike Aviles hit a sac fly to bring in McDonald in the process.

Nationals catcher Jesus Flores could've prevented the last run but dropped a popup for an error.

Mid 4th, Nationals 1-0: Aaron Cook got a little scratched up this inning. He gave up a home run to Danny Espinosa, his second of the spring.

Bottom 3rd, 0-0: Jordan Zimmerman has looked equally as sharp, retiring Shoppach, Ellsbury and Pedroia.

He's overcome Tommy John surgery and turned out nicely. That could be a good example for guys like Rich Hill and Daisuke Matsuzaka, who are each coming along nicely.

Both guys — along with Carl Crawford, Ryan Kalish, John Lackey and Bobby Jenks — will remain in Fort Myers for the time being, according to Valentine.

Mid 3rd, 0-0: You have to be impressed with Cook's sinkerball. In the third inning, he induced more ground ball outs.

Once his shoulder gets on the track the Red Sox training staff would like it to be, I can't imagine he would be in Pawtucket for too long.

He also has recorded two strikeouts.

Bottom 2nd, 0-0: Nationals center fielder Roger Bernadina has left the game with a right knee contusion.

Kevin Youkilis got a hit to start off the inning. He's only hit .194 with no homers this spring, but Youkilis said the other day that putting up numbers isn't his goal.

He wants to sharpen up on some details, so when the regular season rolls around he can make it happen. He's also made a tweak to the batting stance.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: That sinkerball is looking effective for Aaron Cook. He got two groundouts in that inning with it.

Valentine has hinted that Cook will probably start the year in Triple-A Pawtucket's starting rotation. But he doesn't view Triple-A as a separate entity. Valentine wants to be prepared for emergencies and wants as much symmetry between the Boston and Pawtucket staffs as possible.

Bottom 1st, 0-0: David Ortiz just missed unloading a shot, but it plopped down on the warning track.

He's had a very strong spring in the first season under the Bobby Valentine administration. It'll be interesting to see how he starts the season after the last few years, but good things look to be in store.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Fielding errors plagued the Sox in the first inning. Adrian Gonzalez's miscue allowed Roger Bernadina to get on base.

Shortly after, Aaron Cook misfired on a pickoff attempt, which allowed Bernadina to speed over to second.

But Cook shut it down, retiring Desmond, Espinosa and LaRoche on consecutive at-bats. I wouldn't worry too much about the errors, because Cook has shown an ability to get guys out with his pickoff moves. Gonzalez is a Gold Glove winner, too.

1 p.m.: Here are the lineups.

Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Darnell McDonald, LF
Ryan Sweeney, RF
Mike Aviles, SS
Kelly Shoppach, C
Aaron Cook, P

Roger Bernadina, CF
Ian Desmond, SS
Danny Espinosa, 2B
Adam LaRoche, 1B
Xavier Nady, RF
Chad Tracy, LF
Wilson Ramos, DH
Jesus Flores, C
Steve Lombardozzi, 3B
Jordan Zimmerman, P

11 a.m. ET: The Red Sox are set to head north, but before they do, they've got one more game to play in the Sunshine State.

The Sox will host the Washington Nationals on Monday afternoon in what is their final spring training game in Florida. The two teams will then head to D.C. for an exhibition matchup Tuesday night before opening the season Thursday, when the Sox will head to Detroit.

Aaron Cook, who has had himself a nice spring, will get his final chance to leave an impression on the team Monday against the Nats. The veteran right-hander enters with a 1.93 ERA this spring in big league action. 

Jordan Zimmermann will get the ball for Washington.

First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m.

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