The Red Sox rode a six-run second inning to a much-needed win over the Braves on Tuesday night. Boston defeated Atlanta by a final score of 9-4 to snap a five-game losing streak and improve to 11-19 on the season.
Matched up against Braves starter Kyle Wright to begin things on Tuesday, the Sox’ second-inning rally was ignited by a one-out double from Alex Verdugo. Trevor Story followed with a single of his own and Franchy Cordero drew a four-pitch walk to fill the bases for Christian Vazquez.
Vazquez kept the line moving with an RBI single to drive in Verdugo for Boston’s first run of the game. Story then came into score himself when Jackie Bradley Jr. drew a bases-loaded walk as the lineup flipped back over and Enrique Hernandez grounded into a force out at home plate.
Because Hernandez made it to first base safely, the bases remained loaded for Rafael Devers, who took the first pitch he saw from Wright — a 96 mph heater down the heart of the plate — and deposited it 432 feet to right-center field.
Devers’ fifth home run and first grand slam of the season had an exit velocity of over 111 mph. It also gave the Red Sox a commanding 6-0 lead in the early going.
On the other side of things, Garrett Whitlock made his fourth start of the year for Boston in his home state of Georgia. It was truly a grind for the right-hander, who allowed three earned runs on four hits and four walks to go along with five strikeouts over just three innings of work.
After getting through the first two innings unscathed, Whitlock gave up all three of his runs in the bottom half of the third. Fellow Georgia native Matt Olson led off with a double and advanced to third base on a wild pitch. A six-pitch walk of Austin Riley put runners on the corners for Marcell Ozuna, who drove in Olson on a sacrifice fly to right field.
The Braves were not done there, though, as Travis d’Arnaud cranked a 401-foot two-run homer to cut the Sox’ lead in half at 6-3 before Whitlock was able to retire the side in his third and final inning. The 25-year-old finished with a final pitch count of 82 (48 strikes) and induced a total of 12 swings-and-misses.
In relief of Whitlock, a clean-shaven Alex Cora first turned to Tyler Danish out of the Boston bullpen beginning in the fourth inning. Danish responded by hurling two scoreless frames to pave the way for Ryan Brasier, who kept Atlanta off the board in the sixth.
Hansel Robles, on the other hand, issued a leadoff walk to Ronald Acuna Jr. in the eighth and allowed Acuna Jr. to score when Ozuna grounded into a force out at second base. Robles faced five batters in the seventh, but only surrendered the one run to make it a 6-4 game going into the seventh-inning stretch.
John Schreiber made quick work of the Braves in the eighth before the Sox tacked on some important insurance runs in their half of the ninth. With old friend Tyler Thornburg on the mound for Atlanta, Devers drew a leadoff walk, J.D. Martinez singled to extend his hitting streak, and Xander Bogaerts singled to once again fill the bases for Verdugo.
Verdugo, in turn, walked on seven pitches to plate Devers. Story followed suit by drilling a 108.6 mph two-run single to left field that brought in both Martinez and Bogaerts to increase Boston’s lead to five runs.
Looking to close things out in the ninth, Schreiber slammed the door on the Braves to secure a 9-4 victory and notch the first save of his big-league career.
Some notes from this win:
The Red Sox drew a season-high seven walks on Tuesday. They also went 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
Franchy Cordero went 0-for-0 with three walks on Tuesday, marking his first career three-walk game.
Tyler Danish earned the winning decision to improve to 1-0 in his Red Sox career.
Next up: Eovaldi vs. Anderson
The Red Sox will go for the quick two-game sweep of the Braves when they send right-hander Nathan Eovaldi to the mound on Wednesday night. Atlanta will counter with fellow righty Ian Anderson.
First pitch from Truist Park is scheduled for 7:20 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Rafael Devers: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)