The Red Sox made some history on Wednesday night, and we got to celebrate whatever we can. It goes back to Tuesday, when they were blown out against the Braves in large part because Marcell Ozuna went supernova and smashed three homers. In this game, where the Red Sox were looking to avoid a sweep, things were closer. The Red Sox even had a couple of leads! The pitching just couldn’t help itself, though, and Adam Duvall was the star this time. The Braves outfielder hit three homers himself in this game, and that made some history as they were the first team since 1930 to have players hit at least three homers on back-to-back days. Couldn’t have done it without Red Sox pitching! Anyway, the final score was 7-5. Alex Verdugo had another good game and Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a homer.
After losing each of the first two games of this series, and the second one in rather embarrassing fashion, the Red Sox were looking to come out of the gate firing in this one to avoid a sweep. They went with a true opener for one inning to start things off here in Robinson Leyer, and he pretty much matched his scouting report. The righty had some good velocity and a few good sliders, two of which were used as putaway pitches for strikeouts, but also struggled with command a bit and gave up a single and a walk. Fortunately, he was able to get his second strikeout to end the inning without a run.
The Braves, meanwhile, had a struggling Robbie Erlin on the mound, and he just didn’t have it in the first inning. The southpaw issued a four-pitch walk to Alex Verdugo start things off, and then Rafael Devers poked a double into the left-center field gap. Verdugo was on his horse and easily came around to score from first. Two batters into the bottom of the first and it was a 1-0 lead. Erlin then issued another four-pitch walk to Xander Bogaerts before J.D. Martinez smacked a double of his own to make it a 2-0 game. Michael Chavis brought one more home with a sacrifice fly, and the Red Sox had the cushion they were looking for right off the bat.
Heading into the top of the second, Mike Kickham came to the mound for the Red Sox for his first appearance of the year and his first in the majors since 2014. The lefty was a bit rusty. He immediately gave up a double to the right field corner to Austin Riley (who was almost thrown out at second thanks to some nice defense by Verdugo), and then Adam Duvall demolished a no-doubt homer out to left field. Just like that, Atlanta was back to within one. After giving up a base hit, Kickham did come back with two outs, but couldn’t quite finish off the inning without a run. Instead, Freddie Freeman kept things alive with another base hit and Marcell Ozuna snuck one through an empty right side against the shift for a third single of the inning. That one brought home Johan Camargo, and the game was tied.
The good news is Kickham settled down in a big way after that third single. Not only did he get the final out of the inning after that to keep the score tied, but he tossed a pair of perfect innings after that to finish off his night. The bad news is the Red Sox didn’t do anything in the second and third, either.
That brought us to the bottom fourth with the score still tied and Erlin still in the game, getting into a bit of a groove. That is, until Jackie Bradley Jr. decided to put an end to it. With the bases empty and one out, Erlin tried to go down and away with the fastball but was a little too close to the center of the zone. Bradley hit one way up in the air to deep left-center field and it just barely got over the top of the Monster for a solo homer, giving the Red Sox a 4-3 lead.
After Andrew Triggs came on in the top of the fifth and tossed a 1-2-3 inning of his own, the Red Sox got back to work in the bottom of the inning. Verdugo started the inning with a base hit — his third time on base of the game already — and Devers followed that up with a base hit of his own. That ended Erlin’s night, and Martinez came through against Darren O’Day with a bloop single to right field to make it 5-3.
The good times for the pitching staff would end in the sixth, though. The streak of ten straight Braves being retired was snapped with a leadoff base hit from Travis d’Arnaud. A couple batters later, Duvall did it again. This one wasn’t quite as majestic, but Triggs left a slider up in the zone and Duvall went on got it, depositing it into the Monster Seats for a two-run shot. Just like that, we were all tied up at five.
After the Red Sox got a runner to second on a walk and a stolen base in the sixth but could not score, it was Tuesday night’s hero for Atlanta coming through again. Triggs was still on the mound for Boston in the top of the seventh, and Ozuna stepped to the plate with two outs in the inning. The slugger smashed three dingers the night before, and this time around he got a two-seamer up in the zone on the inner half that was sent way out to left field for a solo shot to put Atlanta up 6-5.
Boston’s lineup would answer back with a 1-2-3 inning, bringing Ryan Brasier out for the eighth. The righty got a couple of quick outs, but then Adam Duvall followed in Ozuna’s footsteps. He launched one out to straightaway center field that snuck up and over the wall for a solo shot, giving the Braves their second straight three-homer game as well as a 7-5 lead.
The Red Sox then went down in order again in the bottom of the eighth. After Matt Barnes allowed just one runner on a Devers error in the ninth, the Red Sox had one more chance in the bottom of the ninth down by two against Mark Melancon. They would, of course, go down and order, and that was that. The 7-5 loss drops the Red Sox record to 12-25.
The Red Sox now welcome the Blue Jays into Fenway for a five-games-in-four-days series this weekend. Martín Pérez takes the mound against new Blue Jays Taijuan Walker. First pitch is at 7:30 PM ET.