We keep saying the Red Sox keep finding ways to win, but it’s true. They really do win in a whole lot of different ways, and this one was one of the most entertaining. The pitching didn’t really have it, with Garrett Richards finding it harder and harder to work out of trouble as the night went on. But whenever Atlanta started feeling good in this game, the Red Sox offense was there to answer right back. The biggest swing of the night came from someone who’s been coming through with big swings a lot recently, with Christian Arroyo putting them ahead for good with a grand slam in the seventh inning. There’s just something about this club.
The Red Sox have been playing a lot of high-scoring games of late, and this one was no different. With more problems on the mound, it was another back-and-forth affair, with the Red Sox getting started right away in the first. After a quick first out, they put two in scoring position on a single from Alex Verdugo and a double from J.D. Martinez. It seemed as though they miss out on the opportunity after a Xander Bogaerts strikeout, but then Rafael Devers kept the inning alive with a walk, leaving things up to Hunter Renfroe. He didn’t hit it very hard, but a soft liner made it’s way into right field to score two. That was all Boston would get in the inning, but they had a lead while forcing Ian Anderson, Atlanta’s starter, to throw 36 pitches in the first.
Over on the other side, Garrett Richards continued his recent trend of getting into a whole lot of trouble and then seeing how easily he can avoid actual damage. In the first inning here on Wednesday, Atlanta led off with a double and a walk, but he was able to escape without allowing a run. He did the same in the second, working around back-to-back two-out singles to strand two yet again in a scoreless frame.
So it was still a 2-0 game as we entered the bottom of the third, and once again Richards was getting himself into trouble. Freddie Freeman started the inning with a line drive that sure looked like it should be caught by Hunter Renfroe in right field. It was not. Renfroe couldn’t get a handle on it, and to make matters worse he had a chance at Freeman going to second base, but his throw was off the mark. So with the leadoff man in scoring position on what was ruled a double but probably should have been at least one error, Atlanta hit back-to-back fly balls, which was enough to put them on the board and cut the Red Sox lead in half.
The good news here for Boston fans is that the offense for the Red Sox had a knack to answer right back on this night. After the Braves pulled to within one, Renfroe led off the next inning with a double of his own. He’d then move up to third on a fly ball before getting home on a base hit. That brought Richards to the plate, and he got his first career hit. It wasn’t a cheapie, either, as he blasted one to right-center field for an RBI double, upping the Red Sox lead to three.
The floodgates had opened completely against Richards, though, and the Braves came out swinging again in the bottom of the fourth. Dansby Swanson started the inning with what should have been a base hit to left, but J.D. Martinez — who was in the game because of the NL’s lack of a DH — tried for a sliding catch. He didn’t come up with it, and the ball rolled to the wall for a triple. A couple batters later, Richards had one get away and hit Guillermo Heredia with a pitch before Ender Inciarte got one home on a ground out. After another hit batter, the Braves added one more run on a base hit, and the lead was right back down to one.
But again, the Red Sox had answers. Martinez started the inning with a base hit, and then Bogaerts put one just barely down the left-field line in fair territory. The ball took a Red Sox bounce off the wall in foul territory, allowing Martinez to get all the way around to score, with Bogaerts getting into third on a bad throw back in. Add in a base hit from Devers, and the Red Sox put two more on the board and it was a 6-3 ballgame.
That top of the fifth ended with Richards hitting for himself, which seemed like playing with fire given the way he was pitching, and especially with a day off tomorrow. Abraham Almonte started the bottom of the inning with a double, and then a Bogaerts throw took Dalbec off the bag by just a hair to put two on with nobody out. That brought Swanson back to the plate, and he was in a 2-2 count when Richards made his worst pitch of the night. He left a fastball right over the middle of the plate, and Swanson sent it out to left field for a three-run shot, and just like that the game was tied.
That would also end the night for Richards, with Hirokazu Sawamura coming in to retire three straight and end the inning. He’d come back out in the sixth with the game still tied and the top of the order coming up. Ronald Acuña Jr. made a quick first out, but Freeman proved to be a tougher battle. He got a 1-2 fastball that wasn’t quite down far enough, and he went the other way for a solo shot, giving Atlanta their first lead of the evening. He’d give up a double and a walk as well, having to leave the game with two on and two out. It was up to Yacksel Ríos to get out of the inning, making his debut with the Red Sox. The righty got the job done with a ground ball back to the mound to end the inning and keep the deficit at one.
So now it was on the offense to answer back once more, and they certainly got it going early. Bogaerts started the inning with a double, and then after two walks the bases were loaded with just one out and Bobby Dalbec coming to the plate. The Red Sox slugger couldn’t get it done, striking out on three pitches. That left it all up to Christian Arroyo, who was coming on to hit for the pitcher’s spot. He came through. Again. On a 1-2 pitch, he got a cutter that broke down and in, and he destroyed it. It was a no-doubt grand slam out to left field, and suddenly the Red Sox were back out in front by three.
With a new ballgame in hand, Brandon Workman came on for the Sox in the bottom of the seventh. The righty issued a leadoff walk, and then after getting a couple of outs he gave up a single. That brought Freeman up representing the tying run, and Alex Cora wanted to get the lefty for that matchup, calling upon Darwinzon Hernandez. The southpaw walked Freeman to load the bases, but then got a big ground ball against Ozzie Albies and the Red Sox escaped the inning with the three-run lead still in hand.
With the score still 10-7 in the bottom of the eighth, it was Josh Taylor getting the call for Boston. He started his outing with a four-pitch walk, but he followed that up with two strikeouts and a ground out to get out of the inning unscathed.
That just left one more inning to get through, and it was Adam Ottavino coming on to close it out. The inning started with a great stop down the line by Devers, but his throw was a bit too high, and Heredia had a single to lead off the inning. Ottavino came back with an out after that, but then Acuña ripped one out to the gap in right-center field. The bad news was Atlanta scored to make it a two-run game. The good news is Acuña inexplicably tried to stretch it to a triple and was easily cut down.
Ottavino then got Freeman, who could have been the tying run, swinging to close out the win. The 10-8 victory pushed the Red Sox record to 42-27.
The Red Sox now finally have a day off, their first in 17 days, as they head out to Kansas City for a three-game set. That series will start Friday night, with Nick Pivetta taking on Jackson Kowar. First pitch is set for 8:10 PM ET.