David Price turned what might have been a disaster into an absolute spectacle, and the Red Sox backed him up with plenty of offense both early and late to earn the win and head back to Boston with an 11-4 win.
The Red Sox have made a habit of starting strong in the first inning, at least at the plate, and today was one of their best performances in that regard. While Mookie Betts couldn't provide the leadoff spark, Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts covered for him nicely with a walk and a hit to set up cleanup man Travis Shaw. The third baseman kept his hot start rolling by absolutely destroying an inside fastball, sending it well into the stands in right to put the Red Sox up 3-0.
The Sox would talk on a fourth run before David Price ended the inning by striking out looking, bringing him to the mound. Given a four-run lead...it did not go well, at least to start. It's been rough going for the man-who-would-be-ace early in the season, and up against by far the worst offense in the game, he got two quick outs, then just could not find a third. The Braves weren't crushing doubles or homers (they are still stuck at three on the season), but Price would allow solid contact to the 2-through-5 batters, with the latter three reaching, bringing a run in. A walk to Tyler Flowers would load the bases before Price finally struck out Drew Stubbs to end things, and avoid total disaster.
The Red Sox would not exactly carry over their momentum. As much as they've been hot starters at the plate, they've too often taken strong starts and proceeded to be nearly no-hit from the second onward. For a while, it looked like Matt Wisler would do just that to them, with the Sox managing just one hit in the 2nd-through-4th innings. Meanwhile, Price once again found himself in serious trouble in the bottom of the fourth. The Braves loaded the bases against him again, this time with just one out--John Farrell was even on the phone with the bullpen! And given a let-off at bat against the pitcher Wisler, Price still allowed decent contact--good enough for an RBI sacrifice fly. Xander Bogaerts and Travis Shaw nearly gave Red Sox fans a heart attack on Nick Markakis' subsequent pop-up, with neither man having a clue where the ball went, but Brock Holt calmly settled under it about 10 yards behind the two, making the catch to end the inning.
And from there, Price turned into, well, Price. He had to work around an errant throw from Travis Shaw to first in the sixth inning, but otherwise was largely untroubled as he struck out batter after batter. Working a quick seventh, Price got all the way into the eighth, and finished with style, striking out the side to match his career high with 14 strikeouts.
And for once, in the ninth, the Red Sox were well enough ahead that they could hand the ball off to someone outside the trusted circle of top relievers. And made the atmosphere more than lax enough for seemingly the entire crowd in Turner to chant "Papi! Papi!" and "we want Papi!" as the Sox tacked on run after run with bloop hits that the Braves didn't even seem particularly interested in tracking down and loud extra-base hits from Travis Shaw, Hanley Ramirez, and Jackie Bradley Jr.
By the time the massacre was over, it was a closed book, allowing John Farrell to give Pat Light a chance to make his major league debut in front of his parents. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the fresh face was over-excited and over-throwing as a result, missing wildly and allowing the Braves to load the bases with nobody out. He would finally calm down, however, getting some ground balls to end the game. Not the prettiest performance, but he kempt Kimbrel, Koji, Tazawa, and even Hembree idle, and that's all the Red Sox were asking of him.