Masataka Yoshida, Triston Casas, and Connor Wong all homer as Red Sox fall to Braves, 7-5, in spring finale

In their final game of the spring, the Red Sox came up short against the Braves on Tuesday afternoon. Boston fell to Atlanta by a final score of 7-5 at JetBlue Park.

Kutter Crawford, making his fourth start and fifth overall appearance of the spring, allowed five earned runs on seven hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over four innings of work.

The Braves got to Crawford right away in the top of the first, as the right-hander allowed three of the first four batters he faced to reach base on two singles and a walk. With one out and the bases loaded, Michael Harris II drove in Atlanta’s first run by grounding into a force out at second base. Crawford managed to escape any further damage by getting Ozzie Albies to ground out to short.

Despite falling behind early, the Red Sox wasted no time in getting on the board themselves in the latter half of the first. Matched up against veteran starter Charlie Morton to begin things on Tuesday, Rafael Devers ripped a one-out double to center field. Two batters later, Masataka Yoshida torched a two-run shot over the center field wall for his first home run of the spring and his first in a Red Sox uniform.

Triston Casas followed Yoshida’s lead the next inning, as he led off the bottom of the second by taking Morton deep to dead-center for his fourth homer of the spring. The solo blast put Boston up, 3-1, going into the third.

Crawford, who retired the side in order in the second, ran into more trouble by giving up back-to-back hits to Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson to lead off the inning. He then recorded the first two outs of the frame on a pair of strikeouts, but was unable to get out of the jam as he yielded a game-tying, two-run single to Harris II. Albies followed by plating Harris II on an RBI double to give Atlanta a 4-3 lead.

In the fourth, Crawford served up a one-out solo homer to Orlando Arcia before walking Arcia and retiring both Olson and Austin Riley to end his day on a more positive note. The 26-year-old hurler finished with 73 pitches and a 4.15 ERA in 17 1/3 innings pitched this spring. His first start of the regular season will come against the Pirates at Fenway Park next Monday.

Richard Bleier received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the fifth inning. The left-hander got two quick outs before walking Ehire Adrianza and giving up a single to Sean Murphy. He then gave up an RBI single to the pinch-hitting Ethan Workinger that scored Adrianza, but left fielder Jarren Duran managed to gun down Workinger, who tried to stretch his single into a double, at second base to end the inning.

The Red Sox got that run back in the bottom of the fifth to keep the deficit at two. Raimel Tapia led off with a hard-hit double off Braves reliever Jared Shuster and advanced to third on a balk. Yu Chang then drove Tapia in from third with an RBI single to left field.

John Schreiber put together his most impressive outing of the spring by striking out the side in the sixth inning. But Kaleb Ort’s struggles continued in the seventh, as the righty allowed the first two hitters he faced to reach on a double and walk before surrendering a one-out RBI double to Adrianza, which gave Atlanta a 7-4 lead.

After Luis De La Rosa induced a 4-6-3 double play to get out of the top of the eighth unscathed, Connor Wong led off the bottom half by crushing a long home run to deep right-center field off new reliever Jake McSteen. Wong’s first big fly of the spring trimmed Boston’s deficit down from three runs to two at 7-5.

That is where the score would remain, though, as Theo Denlinger put up a zero in the top half of the ninth and the Red Sox went down quietly in the bottom half to put the finishing touches on a 7-5 loss.

With the loss, the Red Sox finish the spring with a 14-14-4 record in Grapefruit League play and a 16-14-4 record in all competitions. Spring training is officially over in Fort Myers.

Next up: Opening Day at Fenway

The Red Sox will head north and enjoy an off day on Wednesday before taking on the Orioles in the first of a three-game series on Opening Day. Corey Kluber is slated to get the ball for Boston while fellow right-hander Kyle Gibson will do the same for Baltimore.

First pitch from Fenway Park on Thursday afternoon is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Masataka Yoshida: Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)


Author: Brendan Campbell

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

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