BOSTON – As is customary here, the Fenway Park crowd sang “Sweet Caroline” in unison before the bottom of the eighth inning on Wednesday, and this rendition had as much juice as any. After all, their Red Sox had overcome a three-run deficit to take the lead – one to which they added in the bottom of the eighth.

They chanted through the concourses after the game, too, after Boston beat the Braves, 5-3. Atlanta lost both games here.

Five observations:

1. In his office, manager Brian Snitker – who is as measured as they come – provided perspective.

“We just played a really good team,” he said. “This team’s coming together at the right time, I’ll tell you what. They’re a good club. We typically score more than four runs in two games, I think.”

Atlanta scored four runs over 18 innings here. The Red Sox outplayed the Braves. Plain and simple.

Since July 15, the Braves have lost seven of their last 10 games. They’ve dropped three of four series since the All-Star break.

Relax. Take a deep breath.

The Braves are still 64-36 through 100 games.

“We were playing – I’ll call it what it is – an unsustainable level of baseball over the last month,” Spencer Strider said. “I think this happens. When you play 162 games, you’re going to see it all. I think what makes this team good – what makes most teams good, that are good – is the ability to sort of weather the storm when things aren’t going the way you want them to.

“This little bump in the road is only gonna be that to us.”

2. In the sixth inning, Ozzie Albies – who had a big road trip – launched a three-run home run that broke a scoreless tie. The teams still had a lot of baseball left, but this seemed like the boost the Braves needed as Strider ripped through Boston’s lineup.

Two innings later former Brave Adam Duvall blasted a solo homer off Kirby Yates. The Red Sox had scored five unanswered runs.

“Just couldn’t seal the deal,” Snitker said.

The Red Sox hit two solo homers off Strider, who was eventually charged with three runs. Justin Turner smoked a go-ahead, two-run double off new Brave Pierce Johnson – a play also set up by Albies’ error on a 78-mph liner that appeared to sink as it got toward him.

The Braves had two men on with one out against Kenley Jansen in the ninth. They inserted speedster Forrest Wall into the game, but he was caught stealing for the second out. Then Orlando Arcia struck out swinging to end it.

3. This one seemed particularly irking and baffling for Strider, who felt he pitched well but that two of his few mistakes were homers.

“I feel like I’ve really thrown the ball well going back a lot of outings, and it seems like, despite a lot of swings, a lot of swings and misses, a lot of strikes, the couple of mistakes I make in an outing, I just can’t get away with them,” he said. “It’s pretty frustrating to get that deep into outings – I mean, I’ve been into the seventh in almost all my outings over the last eight starts – and not leave with a comfortable. So that’s something apparently I’ve got to figure out. I feel like if I keep throwing the ball the way I am, we’ll be in a good spot.”

In the bottom of the sixth, Rafael Devers golfed a slider below the zone over the wall. In the seventh inning, Triston Casas punished a slider over the plate for a second solo shot.

“If I look back on the pitches I threw today, that’s one out of a couple pitches I didn’t execute, and sure enough it’s a solo homer,” Strider said of Casas’ homer. “I guess you kind of take your chances with solo homers, but it’s just frustrating to be that in the zone and that many swings and misses, ahead of so many guys, and the couple of mistakes come back to bite you. Normally, you watch anybody’s outing, they’re gonna throw so many pitches in the middle of the zone or that they didn’t like, and they’re not getting hit the way I’ve been the last few outings.”

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

4. Duvall had a .991 OPS over 102 at-bats versus Atlanta entering Wednesday.

He now has nine career homers against the Braves.

“Thank God we’re getting away from him,” Snitker said, “because I’ve seen him just torch us when he’s been on the other side.”

5. Before Wednesday, Turner was 0-for-7 (including the postseason) with two strikeouts against Johnson. This time, Turner connected with a 90-mph slider up and away – out of the zone, in fact.

“When I looked up there and I saw it was second and third and (Turner) up there, I was like, ‘That’s probably the last guy I want to see up there, quite honestly.’ Because he’s been through the wars and nothing fazes him, and he’s such a good hitter,” Snitker said.

Stat to know

14 of 21 - Strider has gone at least six innings in 14 of 21 starts this season, including in seven straight.


“It’s gonna happen. It’s just the nature of the beast here. You just keep fighting and showing up every day. We’re gonna get hot again at some point in time.” - Snitker on this rough patch

Up next

The Braves on Friday begin a three-game series with the Brewers at Truist Park. Righty Yonny Chirinos will make his Braves debut. First pitch is at 7:20 p.m.

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