Final, Red Sox 7-4: Alfredo Aceves made it very interesting as he always does.
He loaded up the bases with Cubs without recording a single out. But after a sac fly, Aceves settled in and mowed down the lineup.
Before it got close, Franklin Morales did a remarkable job in spot start duty, yielding just two runs — one should've been technically ruled unearned — and had nine strikeouts through five frames.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 7-3: The Red Sox offense loaded up the bases again, but it was to no avail.
Still, at this point, the team holds a sufficient lead. It's worth noting that Kevin Youkilis was pulled out of the game for Nick Punto.
It'll be interesting to see what Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine says and if it's injury-related.
End 8th, Red Sox 7-3: Heading into this inning, Starlin Castro was a home run away from the cycle.
He, instead, lined out to right field and that's likely the end of his attempts, barring the unforeseen.
Scott Atchison took the relieving reigns and made quick work of the team's lineup.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 7-3: With a single, Kevin Youkilis snapped his 20 at-bat drought without a hit.
But the Red Sox managed to load the bases and Jarrod Saltalamacchia's RBI ground out helped bring in another run.
Kalish almost added more, but his fly ball dropped in the warning track.
End 7th, Red Sox 6-3: For the first time since his promotion, Melancon was thrown into a somewhat pressure situation with the team leading.
Despite plunking a batter, Melancon finished up the inning without any issues and has continued to lower his massive ERA.
Let's see if he'll get more action in the eighth inning.
10:34 p.m.: Andrew Miller walked a batter and then got a fly out and will be yanked out for Mark Melancon.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 6-3: In his first game for the Sox since 2010, Ryan Kalish collects an RBI single.
Will Middlebrooks entered to pinch hit for Matt Albers and executed with a sac fly. Nava laid down the perfect sac bunt, bringing in a third run and changed it all up.
This is the offense that the Red Sox have sorely lacked. And Kalish provided a necessary jolt to it.
End 6th, 3-3: Bad fielding absolutely plagued the Red Sox in this inning.
Kevin Youkilis booted a ball. Then Kelly Shoppach and Matt Albers failed to field an infield single. Mike Aviles eventually made an error, allowing a run to score.
Albers was eventually able to get the last two outs, but fielding really messed this one up.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 3-2: Scott Podsednik exited the game with what is likely a groin injury.
Daniel Nava replaced Podsednik in the outfield. It's not good news for the Sox since Podsednik has been one of the team's best hitters in the past month.
But help may be on the way as Cody Ross could be activated on Tuesday.
End 5th, Red Sox 3-2: He just keeps doing it. In the fifth, Morales struck out the first two batters that he faced.
That was a streak of four straight strikeouts before Morales got Reed Johnson out on a ground out. All in all, he has nine strikeouts.
He's exceeded 70 pitches and it appears that he'll be done with Matt Albers warming up in the bullpen.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 3-2: Morales will return to pitch the fifth inning, considering Bobby Valentine allowed him to bat in the fourth.
And when Morales stepped up to the plate, he actually delivered and continued to turn heads with a single. Well, that's a pretty good day for him so far.
End 4th, Red Sox 3-2: Morales has exceeded his season-high in pitches for an outing in this one.
Even so, he was still a strikeout machine, striking out the side in the fourth inning. He now has seven strikeouts through four frames.
It makes you wonder about how he would fare if he returned to starting.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 3-2: David Ortiz unloaded his 16th home run of the season that soared into center field.
That's his seventh homer off a left-handed pitcher this season. In 2011, Ortiz finished with eight long balls against southpaws.
He's been the constant threat for the Sox offense. He's done so on a very consistent basis.
End 3rd, 2-2: Franklin Morales nearly escaped the third inning unscathed, but some mistakes in the outfield prevented that.
With a pop up, Darnell McDonald and Dustin Pedroia collided into one another with Pedroia ultimately dropping the ball. It allowed Chicago's Darwin Barney to score.
That would've been the third out of the inning, but instead, it's charged to Morales.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-1: Pedroia just collected his second hit of the game, belting a single.
But Kevin Youkilis still can't get it going and struck out swinging while Pedroia got caught stealing. Youkilis is now hitless in his last 20 at-bats.
End 2nd, Red Sox 2-1: Despite pitching as a starter and not a reliever, Morales has thrown some heat.
He's dialing the fastball up to 96 miles per hour and struck out Joe Mather and Wellington Castro in the second.
It'll be interesting to see how that impacts his stamina moving forward.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-1: Ryan Kalish made his first plate appearance since 2010 and it was a strikeout.
Nevertheless, he worked seven pitches out of Maholm and showed some good discipline. For a guy who missed so much time, Kalish displayed strong pitch selection in the minors by homering five times.
Franklin Morales also had his first at-bat in quite some time and struck out.
End 1st, Red Sox 2-1: That's why Starlin Castro is one of the young, exciting players in baseball.
He ripped a triple to center field that drove Reed Johnson, who belted a leadoff double. It's put the early pressure on Franklin Morales.
Morales responded well by striking out Alfonso Soriano.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 2-0: Dustin Pedroia has been battling a slump since coming back from his thumb injury, but that RBI double was a solid sign.
Once Scott Podsednik got on board, Pedroia unloaded a double that drove him in for a run. David Ortiz brought him in soon after.
That's the early offense that the Red Sox have lacked recently. It's on them to keep it going to help out Franklin Morales.
6:30 p.m.: Here is the Red Sox lineup.
Scott Podsednik, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, 1B
Mike Aviles, SS
Darnell McDonald, RF
Kelly Shoppach, C
Ryan Kalish, CF
Franklin Morales, P
8 a.m. ET: With Josh Beckett on the disabled list due to shoulder inflammation, Franklin Morales will make his first start since 2009 for the Red Sox against the Cubs. Morales, a reliever, hasn't pitched since June 9, but has been stretched out during his last two appearances — 4 1/3 innings one and three frames in another — in preparation for an emergency situation. The lefty came up in Colorado's organization as a starter, but became a reliever in 2009.
This season, Morales has bolstered the bullpen, going 0-1 with a 3.04 ERA. He'll go up against Cubs pitcher Paul Maholm, who struck out a season-high seven batters in his last outing, but still couldn't earn the victory. For the year, Maholm owns a 4-5 record with a 4.91 ERA.
For more details, follow NESN.com's live blog. First pitch is scheduled for 8 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPN.
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