ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – David Ortiz and hot-hitting Pedro Ciriaco helped set what Boston hopes will be a good tone for the rest of the season.

Ortiz homered, Ciriaco had three hits and drove in two runs, and the Red Sox got a strong pitching performance from Franklin Morales and five relievers in Friday night’s 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

“It’s nice,” said right-hander Matt Albers, who struck out three of the four batters he faced. “That first game out of the break, against our division rival.”

Morales (2-2) allowed two hits over five scoreless innings to win for the second time since the left-hander was moved into the starting rotation last month. He walked three and struck out five before being replaced by Scott Atchison, who yielded an unearned run in the sixth.

“It was nine innings of really good pitching,” Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine said. “Franklin Morales gave us five really strong innings. Put up the zeros.”

Ortiz hit a solo homer off Jeremy Hellickson (4-6) in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to a season-best eight games.

Ciriaco has started four games since his promotion from the minor leagues last week and is 10 for 12 with six RBI over the past three, including a two-run single that made it 3-0 in the second inning.

“He blooped a couple more in there, made a good bunt, stole a base,” Valentine said. “He’s playing a very high caliber baseball.”

The infielder’s success may be catching some off guard, but not Ortiz.

“He showed everybody what he could do in spring training,” the All-Star slugger said. “Having him here and doing what he’s doing, I’m not surprised.”

The fourth-place Red Sox lost six of seven games entering the All-Star break. But with the win before a crowd of 29,089 at Tropicana Field, they pulled within one game of the third-place Rays in the AL East standings.

Ortiz is hitting .440 (11 for 25) with 10 walks during his hitting streak. The Rays walked him intentionally twice, once to load the bases before Mauro Gomez grounded into an inning-ending double play in the seventh.

Sean Rodriguez drove in Tampa Bay’s run with a sixth-inning double off Atchison. The hit scored Ben Zobrist, who reached on shortstop Mike Aviles’ two-base throwing error.

The Rays went 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position. One of those hits was a sixth-inning infield single that didn’t drive in a run.

Hellickson, the 2011 AL rookie of the year, has dropped six consecutive decisions following a 4-0 start. The right-hander allowed three runs and five hits over six innings.

Alfredo Aceves pitched a perfect ninth for Boston, earning his 20th save in 24 opportunities. Jacoby Ellsbury, activated from the disabled list before the game, went 1 for 5 in his first action since hurting his right shoulder on April 13 while trying to break up a double play.