David Price and his Red Sox hitting friends demolished the Braves with strikeouts and a flurry on extra base hits.
The Red Sox first inning offensive magic returned after a one game slumber. Walks will certainly kill a pitcher and Matt Wisler – a promising 23-year-old – walked Dustin Pedroia on a 3-2 pitch. Xander Bogaerts followed with a single into the hole between second and first that seems to be his modus operandi as a Silver Slugger. Up stepped Travis Shaw who promptly greeted a 2-1 pitch with a tremendious home run to deep right. A 3-0 lead but your Boston Red Sox are a greedy offense group.
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With two out Jackie Bradley got a hit by a pitch and did a sprint to first. Brock Holt time and he flared a ball to center that Drew Stubbs made a shoestring effort on and managed to miss and tap the ball well forward as Bradley scored standing up as Holt now had the 50th Red Sox double of the season.
Christian Vazquez (.200) drew an international walk to set up a bases loaded situation for Price. Price has two career hits in 37 at-bats and that is now 2-38 as the Red Sox staked the ace to a 4-0 lead.
The Braves answered back.
With two outs consecutive singles by Daniel Castro and Adonis Garcia had Braves on first and second for Jeff Francoeur. Frenchy was once an Atlanta star in another age and found the magic with a RBI single to right center. Francoeur is now 10-13 in his career against Price. Tyler Flowers broke up the hit streak by walking to load up the bases for Stubbs who Price finished off with a K.
Price and Wisler then both settled in after the shaky first inning. Price was especially impressive with four strikeouts in the next two innings as the score remained at 4-1 going into inning four.
The fourth saw the problems Price has suffered in April resurface. Frenchy led off the inning with a single and after a strikeout, Stubbs walked. An Erick Aybar single to right loaded the bases for Wisler who hit a nice sac fly for the run. Nick Markakis hit a short fly that had trouble written on it thanks to the lights, but Holt gathered it in to keep it 4-2.
Boston quickly got that run back in the fifth with the key being a lead-off double by Pedroia. Bogaerts hit a sac fly to medium right to move Pedey to third. With Shaw up, Wisler tossed a questionable wild pitch and Pedroia scored standing up for another Boston run.
The last of the sixth had a minor uprising thanks to a hit and an error by Shaw to have two on with two out. Kelly Johnson and his .184 average came up to pinch hit and became Mr. Freeze on a Price fastball on a 1-2 count for the third K of the inning.
Boston did some more hitting damage in the seventh. After Price swatted away for an out up came Mookie Betts for a single to left and stolen base number five on the young season. Pedroia moved Betts to third on a sac fly and Bogaerts went to his favorite spot – right field – for an RBI double. Shaw popped out to prevent any more damage to Atlanta and Boston now was up 6-2.
Price went eight innings and after the fourth it was certainly vintage Price and everything one would expect from his 32 Million salary. The strikeout total of 14 matched a career high.
Boston now had an add on chance in the top of the ninth. Vazquez hit a double and pinch-hitter Chris Young followed with a no man’s land bloop double to right. After a Betts grounder to the pitcher up stepped Pedroia and another bloop to center that Stubbs did a happy dance on for a single and RBI. Shaw almost doubled up on the home run total for the evening and had to settle for a wall ball and two RBI double to right center. The Sox then piled it on.
Hanley Ramirez got into the act with his own double to right and it was now officially a laugher at 10-2. But the laughs kept on coming with a Bradley RBI triple for the fifth extra-base hit of the inning and an 11-2 lead.
Pat Light made his MLB debut in the ninth for mop-up duty and allowed two runs.
* Holt has reached base in 20 consecutive games.
* Entering the game Boston was 16-18 on stolen base attempts. (Through 4/25)
* Jim Thorpe played his last MLB season (1919) with the Braves hitting .327.
* The Red Sox are last in the AL in home runs (14).
* Wally Berger hit the most home runs (199) for the Boston Braves.
* The Red Sox are first in the AL in runs (91), average (.271), OBP (.334) and doubles (49). (through 4/25)
* The Braves Field scoreboard was sold to the Kanas City Athletics.
* Red Sox pitchers lead MLB in hit batters with 14.
* The Braves Sam Jethroe was the oldest winner of the Rookie of the Year Award (32).
* The Red Sox staff has the highest pitches per plate appearance in the AL (4.09).
* The Braves are the oldest continuing baseball franchise.
Price was inconsistent for the evening early going and that seems to be a trend. A sloppy first and fourth inning that were bookends for two ace-like innings. Price then came out for a 1-2-3 fifth. Twice managerJohn Farrell
was on the horn early to the bullpen when Price appeared shaky. But after the fourth it is pure ace like as Price tossed eight innings, allowing six hits, two earned runs, a pair of wlaks and 14 (count ’em) strikeouts. Price threw 114 pitches.
The kid gets an A+ despite giving up two in the ninth. Congradulations on your first MLB game.
Shaw’s blast was 418′ with an exit velocity of 109 MPH.Steve Lyons
on NESN spent an inordinate amount of time beautifying the drive – and rightfully so. Price had a walk and is now 2-39 as a hitter. Bogaerts had three hits. Every non-pitcher had a hit.