Boston Red Sox slam Braves, 9-4
The Boston Red Sox got seven strong innings from Steven Wright and a pair of Dustin Pedroia home runs in a 9-4 win over the Braves
Steven Wright tossed seven strong innings and the Boston Red Sox offense was led by a Dustin Pedroia grand slam and solo shot coupled with three historical doubles by David Ortiz in a 9-4 trouncing of the Atlanta Braves at Fenway Park.
Remember when the Atlanta Braves were once as relevant as the Boston Red Sox? Now they own the worst record in baseball and the Red Sox have taken full advantage of a team fast becoming a baseball corpse with three straight wins against their former cross-town rivals.
The first inning became symbolic for what the Red Sox have accomplished lately and that is defense and runs scored.
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Top of the first Daniel Castro, hitting second for the Braves, hit a floater to centerfield that Jackie Bradley made a spectacular head-first sliding catch on and that is certainly a Sports Center highlight, otherwise, the top of the first was typical of what Wright has been doing this season as the Braves were quickly dispatched. The Boston bats came to face Bud Norris who was released twice last season and apparently is making an effort for another release this season.
The Red Sox knack of first inning runs continued with Pedroia hitting a single and being forced at second on a Xander Bogaerts – leaving it up to David Ortiz. Ortiz hit a rocket to the right field corner for an RBI double and that double tied Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams for career extra base hits. Ortiz was just catching his breath when Hanley Ramirez dumped a single to right and Ortiz chugged home. Hanley stole second and Travis Shaw walked, but Norris got Brock Holt on a ground out to escape.
The Braves Freddie Freeman led off the second with a wall ball double and with one out went to third on A.J. Pierzynski’s 2,000 career hit. Kelly Johnson followed with a single to right and the Braves had a rare run and were looking for more after an embarrassing 11-4 loss the previous night.
Ryan Hanigan then made an attempt at a dancing knuckleball with the result being a passed ball with Erick Aybar hitting. Wright then tossed a real dancer by Aybar on 3-2 and another Boston strikeout was added to the growing total of this young season. That left it up to Drew Stubbs with two in scoring position and a lazy pop up to Pedroia ended any thoughts of a big inning.
The Red Sox quickly loaded the bases with a Bradley walk the centerpiece around singles by Hanigan and Mookie Betts. That left it up to Pedroia, who actually went right as off the foul pole for a grand slam and a 6-1 lead. Ortiz then passed Williams and Foxx on the career extra base list with a double and Norris was mercifully extracted from the game.
The Braves displayed some more life in the top of the third that was helped along by Wright with two walks and an error to load the bases. After getting Jeff Francoeur the Wright helping the Braves continued as he plunked Pierzynski with a pitch for a run. Wright then took care of Johnson and the damage was limited to a lone run.
Papi continued his march into the record books in the last of the fourth with his third double to tie George Brett on the career extra base list. This one brought in another RBI and Papi then came home on a Shaw triple to get the lead back to six at 8-2.
Wright started the seventh and finished it off the inning with his eighth strikeout to cement his second win of the season and have his ERA sink to 1.37. Norris took his second loss against no wins. John Gant pitched 4.2 innings for the Braves to be given a save the bullpen star for his effort.
Pedroia put one in the Monster Seats with two outs in the eighth. The solo shot was his third home run of the season and added some frosting to a cupcake win as Tommy Layne and Matt Barnes finished off the game for Wright.
The home and home series will conclude tomorrow night with the Braves sending right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (0-1, 3.18) to the mound to face Clay Buchholz (0-2, 6.33).
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* Freeman broke the 15 game Atlanta home run drought with a solo shot in the eighth.
* The Red Sox lead the majors in stolen bases with 19. (Through 4/26).
* The Red Sox played the 1915 and 1916 home WS games at Braves Field.
* Turner Field is located at 755 Hank Aaron Drive.
* The Boston Braves were known as the Bees from 1935-41.
* The Red Sox lead the American League in total bases at 308. (Through 4/26).
* The longest game in MLB history (26 innings) took place at Braves Field.
* Both starting pitchers in that game pitched the entire game.
* The Red Sox pitching staff has an MLB-leading 210 strikeouts. (Through 4/26).
* The 1936 All-Star Game was played at Braves Field.
* Joe Kelly has been working on his recovery.
Wright got a few big outs on both a curve ball and a fast ball. A fastball confused Aybar with two outs and a runner on third in the fourth and the result was a harmless grounder to short. A curve to Freeman in the fifth resulted in a short fly. An 83 MPH fastball got Stubbs leading off the seventh. The K-Ball was actually a bit too excitable as it was really dancing around. Hanigan had three passed balls in the previous Wright start and four through four innings including three in the fourth inning. After the fourth the K-Ball took some Paxil and calmed down. The final line for Wright was seven innings, three hits, two runs (one earned), three walks and eight strikeouts. Wright tossed 116 pitches and the well-worn Boston bullpen has had some quality time off lately.
Layne gave up the first home run in 15 games for Atlanta. His inning showed a run, hit and strikeout. Barnes gave up another run and both could be considered garbage time, but giving up runs to the Braves – especially a home run – is now a baseball sin.
The Red Sox lead the league in extra base hits and tonight they were flying all over the place. Three doubles by Ortiz and the third was about an inch away from leaving the yard. Shaw’s triple was the first of his career. The slam by Pedroia was the third of his career. The Red Sox RISP was 4-10 and LOB was seven. The Sox totaled 11 hits and six went for extra bases.