A walk-off home run from Triston Casas lifted the Red Sox to a come-from behind win over the Braves on Friday night. Boston defeated Atlanta by a final score of 9-8 at JetBlue Park to improve to 14-10-4 in Grapefruit League play.
Nick Pivetta, making his fifth and final start of the spring for the Red Sox, allowed two earned runs on 10 hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over six quality innings of work.
The Braves first got to Pivetta in the top half of the third. Matt Olson, who reached base on a one-out single, had moved up to third on an Austin Riley walk and Marcell Ozuna groundout. He was then driven in on an RBI single off the bat of Sam Hilliard that also ended the inning since Austin Riley was tagged out at third moments after Olson crossed the plate.
While Atlanta jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, it did not last long. That being the case because in the bottom of the third, Rafael Devers drew a two-out walk off Braves starter Dylan Dodd. That brought up Justin Turner, who promptly crushed a two-run shot into the Red Sox bullpen in right-center field for his first home run of the spring.
Turner’s blast put the Red Sox up, 2-1. But the Braves got to Pivetta again in the fourth when Ozzie Albies led off with a deep fly of his own to knot things back up at two runs apiece. From there, though, the 30-year-old hurler was at least able to settle down a bit as he put up a zero in the fifth and then worked his way around a jam by punching out Ronald Acuna Jr. to do the same in the sixth. He finished with exactly 100 pitches.
Shortly after Pivetta’s night came to a close, the Red Sox jumped on the Braves for three more runs in the latter half of the sixth. Following a leadoff double from Adam Duvall, Christian Arroyo greeted new reliever Ian Mejia with a two-base hit of his own that scored Duvall from second. After Reese McGuire was plunked by Mejia, both he and Arroyo moved up an additional 90 feet on a wild pitch before Rob Refsnynder brought both of them in with a two-run double off the faux Green Monster in left field.
Taking a 5-2 lead into the seventh, Oddanier Mosqueda received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The left-hander experienced some control issues and walked four of the six batters he faced. He issued a bases-loaded, two-out free pass to Sean Murphy before making way for Skylar Arias, who retired the lone batter he faced to get out of the jam.
In the eighth, Chris Martin quickly recorded the first two outs of the frame before encountering some difficulties of his own. After getting the first two outs, Martin yielded back-to-back hits to Joe Dunand and Cade Bunnell, which put runners at second and third for Andrew Moritz. Moritz, in turn, plated Dunand on an infield single before Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. drove in Bunnell on a game-tying RBI single to right field.
Though the Braves had mounted a late rally, the Red Sox wasted no time in responding in their half of the eighth. Back-to-back singles from Arroyo and McGuire put runners on the corners for Enrique Hernandez, who brought in Arroyo with a sacrifice fly off Mejia. Refsnyder then doubled in McGuire to give Boston a brand-new 7-5 lead going into the ninth.
Kenley Jansen had the chance to pick up his first save of the spring. But the veteran closer instead issued a one-out single to Hoy Park before serving up a game-tying two-run home run to Adam Zebrowski moments later. Jansen walked the next batter he faced and then received a visit from Cora and a member of Boston’s training staff.
After a brief discussion, Jansen was taken out of the game and immediately made for the Red Sox clubhouse. He was relieved by Cam Booser, who gave up a single and a walk to fill the bases with one out. Kilpatrick Jr. then brought in the runner from third — Dunand — to five the Braves an 8-7 edge.
Down to their final three outs and trailing by a run, Jarren Duran led things off by ripping an opposite-field double off new reliever Joe Harvey. After Duvall grounded out, Casas took things into his own hands by obliterating a game-winning, two-run homer deep into the Fort Myers night.
Casas’ third home run of the spring ended it while Booser was credited with the winning decision.
Jansen’s departure due to lightheadedness
According to Red Sox manager Alex Cora, Kenley Jansen was feeling lightheaded on the mound , which is why he came out of the game in the ninth inning. Cora added that he believes the 35-year-old “should be fine.”
Next up: Kluber makes final start of spring
The Red Sox will travel to St. Petersburg to take on the Rays on Saturday afternoon. Opening Day starter Corey Kluber will get the ball for Boston while fellow righty Yonny Chirinos will do the same for Tampa Bay.
First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN+.
(Picture of Triston Casas: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)