Two days in Atlanta seemed to cure a lot of ills for the Red Sox and just cause consternation among the Braves faithful at Turner Field, who had to watch a large contingent of Red Sox fans celebrate Tuesday’s 6-3 Red Sox win and a two-game series sweep from within their midst.
The Braves were done in by the seventh inning for the second straight time.
The Red Sox came from five runs down to snap a 10-game losing streak with a two-run seventh Monday afternoon. On Tuesday they claimed their second straight win with a four-run seventh that started with two hits apiece off relievers Anthony Varvaro and Luis Avilan.
David Ortiz, who had tweeted Monday that all the Red Sox fans in Atlanta made it “feel like we were at Fenway,” drove in another key run. His sacrifice fly put the Red Sox ahead in Monday’s 8-6 win. He tied Tuesday night’s game 3-3 by dropping a bloop into left field, working a pitch the other way from the left-hander Avilan.
Grady Sizemore then shattered his bat on a groundball back to the mound with the bases loaded and one out to drive in the go-ahead run. Avilan couldn’t field the ball cleanly, with bat shards flying at him, and any thoughts he had about going home ended as shortstop Andrelton Simmons had to retrieve and throw to first, allowing the go-ahead run to score on a groundout.
After walking the right-hander David Ross with first base open, the left-hander Jackie Bradley lined a ball past Chris Johnson for a two-run single and a 6-3 lead.
Simmons left the game before the Braves took the field in the eighth inning with right ankle inflammation. The Braves announced that he was considered day-to-day. The Braves had already had to scratch catcher Evan Gattis before the game started with a strained right wrist, which he injured during batting practice.
The Braves have two more shots at the Red Sox. Both teams headed for the airport Tuesday night to pick this thing up again Wednesday with two more games at Fenway Park.
The Braves, who had led 6-1 Monday, lost leads of 2-1 and 3-2 Tuesday night. Sizemore was in the mix each time. His one-out double and steal of third in the fourth inning helped the Red Sox even the game 2-2 after a replay challenge was upheld on the play at third.
Sizemore was called out by third base umpire John Tumbane, who thought his right foot got to the bag before Chris Johnson applied the tag to his left leg. Johnson didn’t like the call and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez challenged it. But after video replays didn’t provide enough evidence to overturn, the call stood.
Two pitches later, Aaron Harang gave up an RBI single to his former Reds batterymate David Ross. The infield was in for the former Braves backup catcher, with Sizemore at third, but it hardly mattered for Ross who lined a ball cleanly to the left center gap. Ross, who caught Harang 33 times with the Reds, is now 5-for-15 against him and six RBIs.
The veteran Harang limited the Red Sox to two runs in six innings, allowing seven hits but striking out seven. He worked around some shaky infield defense which led to a first inning run. He gave up his only other run after Sizemore stole third on the play the Braves challenged and lost.
The Braves manufactured a couple of runs, driven in by Chris Johnson on a sacrifice fly and a fielder’s choice. Freddie Freeman had helped them take a 3-2 lead in the fifth.
After striking out in each of his first two at-bats, Freeman tripled in his third. It was Freeman’s first triple since July 2 and only the fifth of his career but he didn’t hesitant for a second rounding second base on his gapper to right center.
Johnson drove him in on a bloop to right field that went as a fielder’s choice, after Jonny Gomes threw Justin Upton out at second base from right field.
Harang had a chance to help himself at the plate in the second inning, after Jon Lester pitched around Tyler Pastornicky to load the bases. Harang swung away which played right into Jon Lester’s hands – literally. He grounded back to the mound to start a 1-2-3 double play and help erase a big scoring chance in the second inning.
Jason Heyward had homered to right center field for his second leadoff home run of the year and fifth of his career to even the game 1-1 in the first.
For the updated game story, complete with quotes on myajc.com, click here.