Tanner Houck gives up pair of home runs to Matt Olson as Red Sox get shut out by Braves, 8-0

The Red Sox were held to just six hits in the process of getting shut out by the Braves on Friday afternoon. Boston fell to Atlanta by a final score of 8-0 at JetBlue Park to drop to 10-6-4 in Grapefruit League play.

Tanner Houck, making his fourth start of the spring for the Sox, allowed four earned runs on five hits, two walks, and one hit batsman to go along with five strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work. The right-hander ran into trouble right away in the top of the first when he served up a towering solo shot to Braves first baseman Matt Olson.

After settling in and holding Atlanta to just that one run through four innings of play, Houck experienced additional struggles in the fifth when he gave up a leadoff double to old friend Kevin Pillar. Ozzie Albies then drove in Pillar with a one-out single before Olson doubled his side’s lead with a mammoth two-run blast to deep right field.

Olson’s second homer of the afternoon put the Braves up, 4-0. Houck retired the next batter he faced in Austin Riley for the second out of the fifth, and that is how his day would come to a close. The 26-year-old finished with 81 pitches and now owns a 5.68 ERA across 12 2/3 innings this spring.

In relief of Houck, minor-leaguer Aaron Perry received the first call out of the Boston bullpen. Perry allowed the first two batters he faced to reach base before ending things in the fifth. Kenley Jansen, who was responsible for the sixth inning, yielded a leadoff single to Braden Shewmake but left him on base by retiring the next three batters he faced.

Ryan Brasier took over for Jansen in the seventh and surrendered one run on three hits. In the eighth, Kaleb Ort only managed to record one out while getting shelled for three runs on five hits — the first two of which were back-to-back home runs. Skylar Arias sat down the only two Braves he faced in the eighth before Ryan Sherriff struck out two in a scoreless top of the ninth.

To that point in the contest, the Red Sox lineup had been completely held in check. Braves starter Jared Shuster got himself out of a bases loaded jam in the first by punching out Bobby Dalbec. Shuster put up three more zeroes before giving up a leadoff single to Greg Allen in the fifth. The New Bedford native was then given the hook in favor of Nick Anderson, who immediately got Niko Goodrum to ground into a 4-6-3 double play and followed that up by retiring Christian Arroyo.

Fast forward to the seventh, Dalbec reached base on a one-out triple off Michael Tonkin but was left there after Reese McGuire flew out and Allen grounded out. A similar situation arose in the eighth, as Nick Sogard reached on a leadoff single off Jackson Stephens before advancing to third on a two-out double from Corey Rosier. Both Sogard and Rosier, however, were stranded in scoring position after Narciso Crook struck out swinging.

Down to their final three outs in the latter half of the ninth, Rob Refsnyder was hit by a pitch, Marcelo Mayer lined out to deep center field, Caleb Hamilton grounded into a force out at second base, and Tyler Dearden flew out to center to put the finishing touches on an 8-0 loss.

Next up: Split-squad action

The Red Sox will have a split squad on Saturday as they host the Orioles at JetBlue Park and travel to St. Petersburg to take on the Rays at Tropicana Field.

At home, Kutter Crawford will get the start for Boston opposite fellow right-hander Grayson Rodriguez for Baltimore. On the road, righty Josh Winckowski will get the ball for Boston while left-hander Shane McClanahan will do the same for Tampa Bay.

First pitch for each contest is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game at JetBlue Park will be broadcasted on NESN+ while the game at Tropicana Field will be broadcasted on Bally Sports Sun.

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)


Triston Casas and Christian Arroyo combine for 4 hits, Tanner Houck records 4 strikeouts as Red Sox top Braves, 10-2

An hour-long bus ride from Fort Myers to North Port could not prevent the Red Sox from rolling over the Braves on Tuesday night. Boston defeated Atlanta by a final score of 10-2 at CoolToday Park to improve to 8-0-3 in Grapefruit League play.

Tanner Houck, making his second start of the spring for the Red Sox, was able to bounce back from a shaky 2023 debut last Thursday. Although the right-hander gave up two runs on three hits and two walks, he also struck out four of the 13 batters he faced over three innings.

Both of the runs Houck gave up came on one swing of the bat in the third inning. After stranding one runner in the first and facing the minimum in the second, the 26-year-old issued a leadoff walk to Marcell Ozuna to begin the third. He followed that up by serving a booming two-run home run to Kevin Pillar, which gave the Braves an early 2-0 lead.

Houck walked another batter, but he managed to escape any further damage in what would prove to be his third and final frame of work. The righty finished his evening having thrown 41 pitches. He also committed two pitch clock violations.

Though the Red Sox found themselves trailing 2-0 heading into the fourth, they quickly got both of those runs back with some added insurance. After being held in check by Braves starter (and New Bedford native) Jared Shuster, Boston mounted a rally against veteran reliever Jesse Chaves. A leadoff walk from Rob Refsnyder and a groundball single from Triston Casas put runners on the corners for Christian Arroyo, who drove in his side’s first run on a sharply-hit single of his own.

Bobby Dalbec then nearly grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play, but his groundball was misplayed by Braves shortstop Vaughn Grissom, which allowed all three of Casas, Arroyo, and Dalbec to reach base safely. Reese McGuire capitalized on that fielding error by plating Casas from third on a sacrifice fly to right field. Daniel Palka followed with a line-drive single off new reliever Victor Vodnik to drive in Arroyo. Dalbec scored the fourth and final run of the inning when Ceddanne Rafaela grounded into a force out at second and beat the throw at first.

In relief of Houck, Bryan Mata received the first call out of the Boston bullpen. Mata, the organization’s top pitching prospect, worked his way around a Sam Hilliard double in an otherwise clean fourth inning. The Red Sox then tacked on two more runs in their half of the fifth on back-to-back two-out RBI doubles from Casas and Arroyo. Mata, meanwhile, retired the side in order in the latter half of the fifth and capped off his outing by fanning Matt Olson.

The Red Sox and Braves proceeded to trade zeroes over the next two innings. John Schreiber walked the first two batters he faced in the sixth but got out of trouble by getting Michael Harris II to ground into a 5-4-3 double play and Grissom to fly out to right field. Schreiber recorded the first two outs of the seventh as well before making way for Matt Dermody, who punched out Forrest Wall to end the frame.

To lead off the eighth inning, Stephen Scott — who replaced McGuire at catcher in the middle of the seventh — came through by taking Brian Moran way deep to right field for his first home run of the spring. Dermody then struck out two more Braves in the bottom of the inning before the Red Sox put up a three-spot in the ninth.

With one out and one runner (Gilberto Jimenez) on, Atlanta reliever Danny Young plunked Ryan Fitzgerald and Eddinson Paulino in consecutive order. That loaded the bases for Nick Sogard, who promptly scored Jimenez and Fitzgerald on a two-run single to left field. Paulino, who advanced to third on the play, then scored his side’s 10th and final run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Scott.

Taking a commanding 10-2 lead into the last of the ninth, Dermody sat down the final three Braves hitters he faced in short order to secure yet another spring victory for the Red Sox. This one took two hours and 27 minutes to complete.

Other notable observations:

Out of the bullpen, Mata, Schreiber, and Dermody combined to strike out six of the 20 batters they faced while combining for six scoreless innings of relief.

Jimenez and David Hamilton, two of the fastest prospects in the organization, each stole a base and scored a run in Tuesday’s win.

Batting third and fourth in starting lineup, Casas and Arroyo went a combined 4-for-7 with three RBIs, three runs scored, and one walk (which belonged to Casas). Palka also went 2-for-3 while driving in a run out of the seven-hole.

Next up: Taking on Team Puerto Rico

The Red Sox will take on Team Puerto Rico in an exhibition contest on Wednesday night ahead of the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Left-handed pitching prospect Brandon Walter will get the start for Boston. It is not yet known who he will be going up against.

Regardless, first pitch from JetBlue Park is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox agree to one-year, $7 million deal with outfielder Adam Duvall

The Red Sox and free agent outfielder Adam Duvall have agreed to terms on a one-year contract for the 2023 season, as was first reported by Craig Mish of the Miami Herald.

According to Mish, Duvall will receive a base salary of $7 million in 2023 and will have the chance to earn an additional $3 million in performance bonuses. Those bonuses are based on number of plate appearances and could take the total value of the deal up to $10 million, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Duvall, 34, batted .213/.276/.401 with 16 doubles, one triple, 12 home runs, 36 RBIs, 39 runs scored, 21 walks, and 101 strikeouts in 86 games (315 plate appearances) with the Braves last year. The right-handed hitter was shut down in July due to a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist that ultimately required season-ending surgery.

A native of Kentucky, Duvall was originally selected by the Giants in the 11th round of the 2010 amateur draft out of the University of Louisville. He broke in with San Francisco in 2014 and was then traded to the Reds in a package for veteran starter Mike Leake the following July.

With Cincinnati, Duvall was able to establish himself as a power threat from the right side of the plate. He hit 33 home runs and collected 103 RBIs in the process of being named to his first All-Star team in 2016 and then followed that up by putting together a 31-homer, 99-RBI campaign in 2017.

After a tough start to the 2018 season, the Reds traded Duvall to the Braves that July. He spent the next 2 1/2 years with Atlanta before becoming a free agent for the first time and signing a one-year deal with the Marlins in February 2021. Duvall bounced back in Miami and was then dealt back to Atlanta ahead of the trade deadline that year.

In 146 combined games between the Marlins and Braves in 2021, Duvall slashed .228/.281/.491 with 17 doubles, two triples, a career-high 38 home runs, a National League-best 113 RBIs, 67 runs scored, five stolen bases, 35 walks, and 174 strikeouts across 555 total trips to the plate. He also helped Atlanta win a World Series title that fall and took home his first Gold Glove Award for his defensive work in right field.

All told, Duvall is a lifetime .230/.289/.465 hitter with 163 career homers under his belt in 830 games with the Giants, Reds, Braves, and Marlins. In postseason play, Duvall owns a career line of .200/.247/.400 with five homers and 18 runs driven in across 27 total games. He has the kind of swing that could play well at Fenway Park, where he has gone 6-for-18 (.333) in his career with four home runs in four games. Three of those long balls came in the same contest during the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

With Xander Bogaerts opting to sign with the Padres in free agency and Trevor Story slated to miss the start of the 2022 season after undergoing right elbow surgery earlier this month, the Red Sox needed to inject some power back into a lineup that hit the seventh-fewest home runs (155) in the American League last year.

While the absences of both Bogaerts and Story made it seem as though the Red Sox would pursue middle infield help before the start of spring training, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have instead elected to solidify their outfield mix. With Duvall expected to regularly man center field alongside fellow free agent signee Masataka Yoshida in left and Alex Verdugo in right, Enrique Hernandez seems primed to move back to the infield after serving as Boston’s everyday center fielder for the better part of the last two seasons.

For his part, Duvall has prior experience at all three outfield positions. Last year, the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder logged 237 1/3 innings in left, 382 innings in center, and 90 innings in right. As far as the metrics are concerned, Duvall ranked in the 88th percentile of all big-league outfielders in outs above average (+5). He also ranked in the 79th percentile in arm strength (averaged 89.1 mph on his throws), the 74th percentile in outfield jump, and the 67th percentile in sprint speed, per Baseball Savant.

The Red Sox, per Cotillo, are fully confident in Duvall’s ability to play center field. Depending on what Boston does between now and Opening Day, Hernandez and Verdugo represent possible fallback options down the line. The same can be said for Jarren Duran and Rob Refsnyder as well.

Duvall, who turns 35 in September, becomes the seventh major-league free agent addition the Red Sox have made this winter, joining the likes of starter Corey Kluber, relievers Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin, and Joely Rodriguez, infielder/designated hitter Justin Turner, and Yoshida. Of these seven, only Yoshida received more than two guaranteed years on his deal.

As currently constructed, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is at full capacity. So they will have to clear a spot for Duvall once he passes his physical and his signing can be made official.

(Picture of Adam Duvall: Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Red Sox trade Hoy Park to Braves for a player to be named later or cash considerations

The Red Sox have traded infielder/outfielder Hoy Park to the Braves in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations, the club announced on Friday.

Park, 26, was originally acquired from the Pirates last month in a trade that sent pitching prospect Inmer Lobo to Pittsburgh. The native South Korean was designated for assignment for the second time this offseason when the Red Sox needed to clear a 40-man roster spot in order to make the signing of closer Kenley Jansen official on Tuesday.

After spending the last three days in DFA limbo, Park now finds himself with his third organization of the winter and the fourth of his professional career. The former Yankees prospect first broke in with New York in 2021 before being traded to Pittsburgh with Diego Castillo for All-Star reliever Clay Holmes last July.

Park appeared in 44 games for the Pirates down the stretch last season and batted .197/.299/.399 with three home runs, 14 RBIs, and 16 runs scored. The left-handed hitter spent most of this past season in Triple-A and only managed a .216/.276/.373 line with two homers, six RBIs, and seven runs scored across 23 games (60 plate appearances) with the big-league club in Pittsburgh.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Park — who turns 27 in April — has proven to be quite versatile during his brief time in the majors, as he has already appeared in at least one game at every defensive position besides pitcher, catcher, and first base. The Red Sox were intrigued by Park’s ability to play multiple positions, but ultimately decided to move on despite the fact that he has two minor-league options remaining.

The Red Sox and Braves will now have the next six months to decide on which Atlanta minor-leaguer will be dealt to complete this deal. If the two sides are unable to come to an agreement, the Braves will send cash to the Red Sox.

(Picture of Hoy Park: Joe Puetz/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox prospect Hudson Potts signs minor-league deal with Braves

Former Red Sox prospect Hudson Potts has signed a minor-league contract with the Braves for the 2023 season, per his Instagram page.

Potts, 24, was originally acquired from the Padres with outfielder Jeisson Rosario in the August 2020 trade that sent Mitch Moreland to San Diego. The former first-round draft selection was added to Boston’s 40-man roster that November and spent the entirety of his first full season in the organization at Double-A Portland.

Baseball America ranked Potts as the No. 27 prospect in the Red Sox’ farm system heading into the 2021 campaign. The right-handed hitting infielder was limited to just 78 games with the Sea Dogs and batted .217/.264/.399 (76 wRC+) with 18 doubles, 11 home runs, 47 RBIs, 33 runs scored, 16 walks, and 100 strikeouts over 307 plate appearances.

On the heels of such an underwhelming season, Potts found himself on Boston’s 40-man roster bubble coming into 2022. On March 22, the Red Sox needed to create an opening on their 40-man roster after claiming reliever Kyle Tyler off waivers from the Angels. They did so by designating Potts for assignment.

Potts cleared waivers three days after being designated and was outrighted to the minor-leagues. Remaining in the Red Sox organization as a non-40-man roster player, Potts proceeded to put up improved numbers in his return to Portland this season. He slashed .234/.297/.454 (101 wRC+) with 17 doubles, 14 homers, 44 runs driven in, 36 runs scored, one stolen base, 24 walks, and 100 strikeouts across 75 games (296 plate appearances) before being promoted to Triple-A Worcester in late September.

In two games with the WooSox, Potts went 1-for-5 (.200) with a double, run, walk, and strikeout. Since 2022 marked his seventh year in pro ball, Potts became a minor-league free agent for the first time in his career last month. As it now turns out, it took the Texas native less than a full month to find a new opportunity elsewhere.

Considering that he does not turn 25 until next October, Potts still has a relatively high ceiling. His raw power has always been his standout tool. On the other side of the ball, the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder initially came up as a shortstop but has since made the transition to the infield corners. This season, for instance, Potts started 52 games at first base compared to 20 at third.

All that being said, Potts should at the very least provide the Braves with some corner infield depth at either Double-A Mississippi or Triple-A Gwinnett next season. It will be interesting to see how he responds to a new change of scenery in 2023.

(Picture of Hudson Potts: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox endure more bullpen struggles in 8-4 loss to Braves; Tommy Pham homers in third straight game

The Red Sox were swept by the Braves at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. Boston fell to Atlanta by a final score of 8-4 to extend its losing streak to four and drop to 54-58 on the season.

Nick Pivetta, making his 23rd start of the year for the Sox, allowed three runs on five hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over six quality innings of work.

All three of those Braves runs came in the top half of the fourth. After giving up a leadoff single to Austin Riley, Pivetta had Eddie Rosario on the ropes with two outs. With the count full, he pinpointed a 93.7 mph four-seam fastball on the outside corner of the lower half of the strike zone.

It should have ended the inning. Home plate umpire Adam Beck instead called it a ball and Rosario took his base. Three pitches later, Pivetta served up a towering, 403-foot three-run shot to Marcell Ozuna on a 91.9 mph four-seamer that was left over the heart of the plate.

Ozuna’s blast over the Green Monster gave Atlanta its first lead of the night at 3-0. Boston countered in its half of the fifth inning when Bobby Dalbec scored from third base while Tommy Pham grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.

That was the only run the Red Sox got off Braves starter Kyle Wright. Pivetta, meanwhile, ended his night on a positive note by retiring seven of the final eight batters he faced after giving up that homer to Ozuna.

The 29-year-old right-hander finished with a final pitch count of 108 (69 strikes) while keeping his ERA on the season at 4.51. He hovered around 93.8 mph with his four-seamer, which was slightly up from his yearly average of 93.3 mph, per Baseball Savant.

In relief of Pivetta, Darwinzon Hernandez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from Red Sox manager Alex Cora. The left-hander struck out the first Brave he faced in Ozuna, but then gave up a base hit to Michael Harris II that was followed by a two-run home run off the bat of Vaughn Grissom, who was making his major-league debut for Atlanta on Wednesday.

Grissom’s first career homer traveled 412 feet over the Green Monster to give the Braves a 4-1 lead. Hernandez got through the rest of the seventh inning unscathed, but has now allowed 16 earned runs in 6 2/3 innings with the Red Sox this season. That is good for an ERA of 21.60.

In the latter half of the seventh, Dalbec greeted new Braves reliever Dylan Lee with a one-out single. Jaylin Davis, who was pinch-hitting for Jarren Duran, followed with a line-drive base hit of his own to put runners at first and second for Pham, who responded by depositing a 412-foot three-run home run to dead center field.

Pham’s 14th big fly of the season was also his third in his last three games with Boston. It trimmed Atlanta’s lead down to just one run at 5-4 heading into the eighth inning.

Despite his team being in desperate need of a shutdown inning, Ryan Brasier was not up to the task in the eighth. Brasier yielded back-to-back one-out singles to Matt Olson and William Contreras before Rosario ripped an RBI double to left field to plate Olson and Ozuna lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to score Contreras.

That sequence of events made it a 7-4 contest in favor of the Braves. Austin Davis recorded the final out of the eighth before Kaleb Ort gave up another run-scoring single to Dansby Swanson in the top of the ninth. In the bottom half of the inning, veteran closer Raisel Iglesias made quick work of Dalbec, Davis, and Pham to end the game.

All told, four different Red Sox relievers (Hernandez, Brasier, Davis, and Ort) combined to give up five runs on seven hits over just three innings. Offensively, the Sox went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left six runners on base as a team.

Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and J.D. Martinez went a combined 1-for-12 with two strikeouts, both of which belonged to Martinez. Alex Verdugo accounted for his side’s only two walks.

By getting swept by the Braves in this brief two-game interleague series, the Red Sox now find themselves trailing the Orioles and Rays (58-52) by five games for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Winckowski vs. Kremer

The Red Sox will next welcome the Orioles into town for a quick, lockout-induced one-game series on Thursday. Josh Winckowski is slated to start for Boston while fellow right-hander Dean Kremer will do the same for Baltimore.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox trade Silvino Bracho to Braves for cash considerations

The Red Sox have traded reliever Silvino Bracho to the Braves in exchange for cash considerations, the club announced Thursday night.

Bracho had just been designated for assignment after spending the last two days on Boston’s big-league roster. The right-hander was initially called up on Tuesday in place of Connor Seabold to provide the Sox with an extra reliever for the remainder of their series against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

He did not get into a game, however, and lost his spot on both the 26- and 40-man roster on Thursday when the Red Sox activated fellow righty Tanner Houck — who cannot travel to Canada on account of his unvaccinated status — from the restricted list ahead of their weekend series with the Cubs in Chicago.

The 29-year-old originally signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox back in March and began the 2022 season with Triple-A Worcester. He posted a 3.16 ERA and 2.58 FIP with 36 strikeouts to four walks over 18 appearances (1 start) spanning 31 1/3 innings of work for the WooSox before having his contract selected on Tuesday.

Bracho, who turns 30 in less than three weeks, now joins a new organization after only spending a few hours in DFA limbo. The native Venezuelan first signed with the Diamondbacks as an international free agent in August 2011 and broke in with Arizona four years later.

In his first four seasons with the D-backs, Bracho posted a 4.67 ERA across 91 relief appearances. He underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2019 and was limited to just one outing during the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign.

Since he spent all of 2021 with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate, Bracho has just one big-league appearance under his belt in the last three years. Because he is out of minor-league options, Bracho will have to stick with the Braves or will otherwise risk being designated for assignment again.

(Picture of Silvino Bracho: Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)

Trevor Story’s first home run of season goes for naught as Red Sox blow another lead and get walked off on by Braves in 5-3 loss

The Red Sox had to settle for a series split with the Braves on Wednesday night after getting walked off on in the ninth inning. Boston fell to Atlanta by a final score of 5-3 in what was their fifth walk-off loss of the season. Their record is now 11-20.

Matched up against Braves starter Ian Anderson out of the gate, the Sox got off to a quick start beginning in their half of the second inning. Following a one-out double off the bat of Alex Verdugo, Trevor Story came through with his highly-anticipated first home run of the season.

Story took a 1-1, 88 mph changeup that was down and in and proceeded to crush it 422 feet to dead center field. The second baseman’s first homer in a Red Sox uniform left his bat at 105.8 mph and give his team an early 2-0 lead.

An inning later, Rafael Devers kept the top of the third alive with a hard-hit double to right field. He immediately scored from second base on a J.D. Martinez RBI single that increased Boston’s advantage to 3-0.

Nathan Eovaldi, meanwhile, was in the midst of his seventh start of the season for the Sox. The right-hander wound up allowing three runs on six hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings of work.

After getting through the first two innings rather smoothly, Eovaldi ran into some trouble in the bottom of the third when he gave up his first hit of the night — a one-out single to Orlando Arcia. On his very next pitch, Eovaldi was taken 415 feet deep to left field by Travis Demeritte.

Demeritte’s two-run blast cut Atlanta’s deficit down to one run at 3-2. Dansby Swanson then drew a seven-pitch walk off Eovaldi, stole second base, and scored from second on a blistering, game-tying 106.5 mph RBI double from Georgia native Matt Olson.

Eovaldi did manage to strand Olson in scoring position, though, and then retired 10 of the next 12 batters he faced before yielding a one-out single to Arcia in the seventh, which is how is outing would come to a close. Finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (68 strikes), the 32-year-old hurler induced a total of 18 swings-and-misses while topping out at 99.1 mph with his vaunted four-seam fastball.

Shortly before Eovaldi’s night ended, a Red Sox lineup that had been held in check by Anderson since the third inning had a real chance to break out in the sixth. Martinez led off with a single and Verdugo put runners on first and second with a one-out walk. Following an Atlanta pitching change that saw old friend Collin McHugh take over for Anderson, Franchy Cordero loaded the bases for Kevin Plawecki by drawing a two-out walk.

Plawecki worked a 3-2 count against McHugh and was prepared to take the bases-loaded walk by taking an 89.3 mph cutter that was well below the strike zone. Rather than call ball four, however, home plate umpire Adam Beck rung Plawecki up. Plawecki spiked his helmet and was understandably furious, as was Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Both were ejected from the game and Christian Vazquez took over behind home plate.

Picking it back up with one out in the bottom of the seventh, acting manager Will Venable gave Eovaldi the hook in favor of Matt Strahm, who struck out both Demeritte and Dansby Swanson to end the seventh before recording the first out of the eighth as well. John Schreiber then took over for Strahm and got through the rest of the frame unscathed.

Ryan Brasier was responsible for sending this one into extras as he got the call for the ninth. He gave up a leadoff single to Ozzie Albies, got the first out of the inning, but then served up a game-winning, walk-off homer to Arcia.

Arcia’s two-run shot sent the Braves home happy with a 5-3 win. It sent the Red Sox back on the road with a sour taste in their mouths.

Next up: Off day with Rangers on deck

The Red Sox will enjoy their second off day of the week on Thursday before opening up a three-game weekend series against the Rangers in Arlington on Friday night.

Boston will send right-hander Nick Pivetta to the mound on Friday. Texas has yet to name a starter.

First pitch from Globe Life Field is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alex Cora: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers’ early grand slam lifts Red Sox to 9-4 win over Braves to put an end to 5-game losing streak

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)

Red Sox crush 3 home runs, top Braves, 10-7, in Trevor Story’s Grapefruit League debut

The Red Sox improved to 8-5 in Grapefruit League play on Wednesday afternoon with a 10-7 victory over the Braves at JetBlue Park.

Using a lineup that is likely to mirror the one they feature on Opening Day, the Sox got things going right away against Braves starter Ian Anderson. Before recording an out in the first inning, Enrique Hernandez drew a leadoff walk and Rafael Devers clubbed a towering two-run homer over the Fenway South Green Monster.

Devers’ fourth home run of the spring jolted Boston to an early 2-0 lead, but they were not done there. Not with Alex Verdugo ripping a two-out double off Anderson, advancing to third to load the bases, and scoring from third when Jackie Bradley Jr. was hit by a pitch to make it a 3-0 game.

An inning later, the top of the Red Sox lineup struck once more when Hernandez led off with an infield single and scored on a one-out RBI single off the bat of J.D. Martinez.

Christian Vazquez added on to his side’s lead in the bottom of the third. Following a leadoff double from Bobby Dalbec, Vazquez crushed a two-run shot to left field off Anderson. The veteran backstop’s first big fly of the spring made it a 6-0 game in favor of Boston.

That sequence provided Sox starter Tanner Houck with a sizable cushion to operate with out of the gate. Making his third start of the Grapefruit League campaign, the right-hander began his day by retiring eight of the first 13 batters he faced heading into the fourth inning.

That is where things began to get a bit shaky for Houck. The 25-year-old yielded back-to-back singles to Ozzie Albies and Eddie Rosario to begin the frame before spiking a wild pitch that allowed both runners to advance an additional 90 feet.

A sacrifice fly from Alex Dickerson brought in Albies from third for the Braves’ first run of the afternoon. Houck then plunked Guillermo Heredia, but escaped any further damage by fanning Dansby Swanson, who would turn out to be the last hitter he would face on Wednesday.

All told, Houck allowed just one earned run on five hits, no walks, and three hit batsman to go along with four strikeouts over four erratic innings of work. He should be in line to make one more start before the regular season begins.

Shortly after Houck recorded the final out in the top half of the fourth, the Boston bats continued to pound Atlanta pitching in the bottom half of the frame.

With reliever Dylan Lee on the mound for the Braves, Jonathan Arauz provided some more leadoff pop by mashing his first home run of the spring. A J.D. Martinez walk and opposite-field double for Franchy Cordero then put runners at second and third for Trevor Story, who came through with a line-drive RBI single to plate Martinez. Cordero himself scored on another RBI base hit courtesy of Bobby Dalbec.

Despite having a commanding 9-1 lead going into the fifth, the Red Sox bullpen struggled a bit in relief of Houck. Kaleb Ort received the first call from manager Alex Cora and proceeded to serve up a solo homer to Travis d’Arnaud and a three-run blast to Adam Duvall while only managing to record two outs.

Ryan Fernandez then came on for Ort and surrendered a solo home run of his own to Dickerson, though he was able to end the inning with Boston still in possession of a three-run lead at 9-6.

It did not take long for the Sox to get one of those runs back, though, as Yolmer Sanchez followed up a scoreless sixth inning from Hirokazu Sawamura by plating the pinch-running Christin Stewart on a sacrifice fly to right field off Allan Winans.

From there, Ryan Brasier got himself in and out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, Matt Barnes gave up one run on two hits and one walk in the eighth, and newcomer Matt Strahm closed things out by stranding a pair of base runners in a shutout ninth inning.

Some notes from this win:

In his Grapefruit League debut, Trevor Story went 1-for-2 with an RBI single, a walk, and a strikeout. The 29-year-old started at second base, batted out of the six-hole, and was pinch-ran for by Yolmer Sanchez in the fourth inning.

Franchy Cordero replaced Alex Verdugo in left field in the third inning. He went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, one RBI, and one strikeout.

Through seven games this spring, Rafael Devers is slashing .389/.400/1.056 with four home runs, eight RBIs, six runs scored, one walk, and six strikeouts over 20 plate appearances.

Next up: Bundy vs. Hill

The Red Sox will take on the Twins at JetBlue Park on Thursday afternoon, with the race for the 2022 Chairman’s Cup currently tied at two games apiece.

Rich Hill is slated to get the start for Boston and Garrett Whitlock will also pitch. Hill will be opposed by right-hander Dylan Bundy for Minnesota.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will not be televised.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)