Rafael Devers homers again as Red Sox ride 5-run second inning to 6-3 win over Braves

Powered by a five-run second inning, the Red Sox improved to 10-7 in Grapefruit League play on Sunday with a 6-3 victory over the Braves at CoolToday Park in North Port.

After falling behind by a run early on, the Sox did the majority of their damage off Braves starter Huascar Ynoa in their half of the second. Bobby Dalbec led off the frame with a line-drive single and Jackie Bradley Jr. immediately followed by crushing a two-run shot over the right field wall for his third home run of the spring.

Boston’s No. 9 hitter, Yolmer Sanchez, reached base via a two-out single and Enrique Hernandez kept the inning alive by reaching on a fielding error. That sequence brought Rafael Devers to the plate, and the left-handed hitting slugger made Atlanta pay for their mistake by teeing off on a pitch from Ynoa that was barely off the ground.

Devers plated three on his team-leading sixth homer of the spring to give his side a commanding 5-1 lead. To that point in the contest, the only run the Braves had gotten off Sox starter Nick Pivetta came by way of a solo home run off the bat of Matt Olson in the bottom of the first.

Pivetta, making one final tune-up before the start of the regular season, wound up allowing just one run on six hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with six strikeouts over five full innings of work on Sunday.

The 29-year-old right-hander ran into trouble in the first even after serving up the homer, but escaped any further damage and settled in nicely by retiring 10 of the final 15 batters he faced.

In relief of Pivetta, Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call out of the Boston bullpen beginning in the sixth inning. Celebrating his 34th birthday on Sunday, the Japanese-born righty made quick work of Marcell Ozuna, Adam Duvall, and Alex Dickerson.

From there, a pinch-hitting Travis Shaw drove in Rob Refsnyder on an RBI single off Braves reliever Kyle Wright in the top of the seventh. John Schreiber, meanwhile, took over for Sawamura in the bottom of the seventh and allowed two runs to score on two walks, a wild pitch, and a single an inning later.

With a three-run lead to protect heading into the ninth, Tyler Danish maneuvered his way around a jam in which the Braves brought the tying run to the plate by punching out the final two batters he faced in consecutive order.

Danish was credited with his first save of the spring, and the Red Sox secured a 6-3 win as a result.

Some notes from this victory:

Four different Red Sox pitchers (Pivetta, Sawamura, Schreiber, and Danish) on Sunday combined to allow three earned runs on eight hits, four walks, one hit batsman, and nine total strikeouts across nine innings of work.

Rafael Devers hit his sixth home run of the spring on Sunday is now batting .435/.481/1.261 through his first 10 games (27 plate appearances) of Grapefruit League play.

Next up: Houck vs. Ober

The Red Sox will make the trek back to Fort Myers and take on the Twins at Hammond Stadium in their penultimate game of the spring on Monday. Boston can clinch the 2022 Chairman’s Cup with a win since they currently lead Minnesota three games-to-two in the best-of-seven series.

Tanner Houck is slated to get the start for the Sox on Monday afternoon. The Twins will roll with fellow right-hander Bailey Ober. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be televised, but only on Bally Sports North.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez and Rafael Devers courtesy of the Boston Red Sox)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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