Gregory hopes to return Sunday vs. Bills

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Gregory hopes to return Sunday vs. Bills

FOXBORO -- In his own words, Steve Gregory on if he fully expects to play Sunday against the Bills:

"Yeah. I mean I'm out there practicing right now, trying to definitely get back in the swing of things. We'll see how it goes."

It's as definitive an answer as we've heard. Gregory suffered a hip injury in New England's Week 4 win over the Bills. He's been inactive for the four games played since -- a reality that continues to rankle him.

"I'm real anxious," Gregory said of returning. "It's not fun to sit on the couch and watch the guys out there playing, so I'm real anxious to get out there and play."

But the extended rest has been necessary. He's said before that the biggest mistake he could make is to rush back before he's 100-percent and experience some sort of setback.

In Gregory's mind, New England's week off couldn't have come at a better time.

"Anytime you have any injury, time heals," he said. "The more time you have to heal . . . bye week coming in there and giving an extra week, really two weeks. The healing process helped out."

He's certainly not the only Patriot who's battered and bruised. Players up and down the roster -- cornerback Kyle Arrington, tight end Aaron Hernandez, linebacker Jerod Mayo -- likely embraced the bye's respite in a similar way.  

Especially since they're back to work already, and have four division games ahead.

"It's important," Gregory said. "The season can be a grind. You go through camp, then you go through the preseason, and you're kind of eight weeks into it now. It's good for the guys to get away, get their minds off things a little bit, see it from an outside perspective.

"But now, definitely, put that behind you. You had your time off. Get back to work and get this thing going."
 
From the sound of it, Gregory is more than eager to join them.

"Vacation's over," he said.

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

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Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

BOSTON - Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon hit two-run homers and the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 on Friday to cap a night in which David Ortiz's number became the latest retired at Fenway Park.

It was the 250th career home run for Ramirez, a good friend of Ortiz who was also born in the Dominican Republic. Leon finished with three hits and four RBIs.

The homers helped provide a nice cushion for Rick Porcello (4-9), who gave up four runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory. It was the 13th straight start Porcello has gone at least six innings.

Alex Meyer (3-4) allowed five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Los Angeles scored three runs in the seventh, but cooled off after Porcello left.

Boston got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on an RBI double by Xander Bogaerts and then getting two more runs off wild pitches by Meyer.

Ramirez gave Porcello a 5-1 lead in the fourth with his two-run shot to right field.

This could serve as a needed confidence boost for Porcello, who had been 0-4 with a 7.92 ERA in his previous five starts, allowing 47 hits and 27 earned runs.

He had command of his pitches early, holding the Angels scoreless until the fourth, when a catching error by Leon at home allowed Albert Pujols to cross the plate.

Drew Moor, Sebastian Giovinco score, Toronto FC beats Revolution, 2-0

Drew Moor, Sebastian Giovinco score, Toronto FC beats Revolution, 2-0

TORONTO - Drew Moor scored early and Sebastian Giovinco struck late and Toronto FC overcame a tight schedule turnaround to beat the New England Revolution 2-0 on Friday night.

Toronto was coming off a 1-1 tie Wednesday night in Montreal in the first leg of the Canadian Championship final. The Revs had been off since a 2-1 home loss to Chicago on Saturday.

Moor's 11th-minute goal looked to be enough, with Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono preserving the win with a save on Teal Bunbury's header in the 88th minute. But Giovinco added an insurance goal deep into stoppage time, bringing down a high ball before beating a defender and banging a left-footed shot home for his 50th goal in MLS regular-season and playoff action.

MLS leading Toronto (10-2-5) has won seven straight at home. New England (5-7-5) is 0-6-3 on the road.