1. In the first inning, one play left everyone confused. The Braves were up, 2-0, and still threatening.
Until they only led, 1-0, and were done batting.
Marcell Ozuna lined a ball to second baseman Christian Arroyo, who fired an errant throw to first base as Austin Riley ran home. The umpire ruled the ball a lineout.
With Riley in the dugout, Eddie Rosario came up to the plate. Before throwing a pitch, Red Sox opener John Schreiber tossed the ball to third base for the appeal, which resulted in the third out because Riley had not tagged up on the last play.
“They ruled it a catch and everybody went back and tagged up but Austin,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He came into the dugout and he said, “If they rule it a catch, I’m gonna be doubled off because I didn’t re-tag.’ Which in the spur of the moment is hard.
“It was just a really weird play. I’m trying to process the thing throughout the game. I figured they were gonna appeal at third, and they did.”
Inning over. The Braves only scored once when they seemed set up for more.
“My initial read was it hit the ground and the umpire really didn’t give anything, so I took off and when I was looking back, I saw safe,” Riley said. “But come to find out, he was (signaling) safe for the guy at second just going back.”
Riley also said: “It was just a weird play. That’s all I can say.”
2. This play – while a lot of baseball followed – set an ominous tone.
Braves starter Charlie Morton, who has pitched well this season, had a rough one. He lasted only 3 2/3 innings. He allowed four runs on six hits. He walked five batters.
“I wasn’t throwing my cutter early for strikes,” Morton said. “Breaking ball was – I don’t know – inconsistent. My changeup was really the only thing I felt like was decent. My four-seamer I was leaving over the heart of the plate, my two-seamer I was just kind of throwing and missing down.
“So pretty much everything I was throwing, I was missing. That’s tough because you go into a game with a game plan, and you have goals for how an at-bat’s gonna go and how pitches are gonna go. If you’re not executing your pitches, it’s like the game plan just goes out the window and it just becomes about kind of just surviving.”
3. On some nights, Morton’s performance would have mattered more. This time, it did not.
The Braves couldn’t get much going regardless.
They scored a run in the first inning – before the strange play. Then the Red Sox shut them out the rest of the way.
Atlanta went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
“That’s the whole thing,” Snitker said. “You’re probably gonna have opportunities. We got a big hit (Sunday) and won a series. We didn’t get a big hit today. That’s kind of the life of baseball.”
4. In the long run, this loss should not ruin a cool moment: The Braves turned a triple play, one of baseball’s rarest accomplishments.
With runners on first and second in the third inning, Michael Harris II moved in and caught a fly ball. On the run, in the same motion, he threw to Matt Olson at first base after catching the ball because he saw former teammate Adam Duvall far off the bag. And then Olson saw the runner at second take off for third, so he made the throw to Austin Riley for the third out.
“Yeah, I guess my job was to only make the catch, and I saw Duvall, he came off a little bit and thought it was gonna get down,” Harris said. “So I did my job and got it to first, and Oly did a good job to get it to Riley, who made a good pick and put the tag on him. This is the first one I’ve been a part of, and it’s pretty exciting.”
5. “It’s unfortunate,” Snitker said of that first-inning play. “(Ozuna) hit the ball so hard. Who knows what happens?”
But did it rip momentum from the Braves on this night?
“Not at all,” the manager said. “It’s just like getting the bases loaded (with) nobody out and you don’t score. That doesn’t kill your game or anything.”
Stat to know
6 of 9 - The Braves have lost six of their last nine games, which is a rare funk in an otherwise dominant season to this point.
“Win or lose, I guess you don’t see that every day. I mean, you don’t see it every week. It’s baseball, you lose games. You don’t get triple plays every day. I guess there was an exciting moment in the day, and we’re just looking forward to moving on to tomorrow and trying to get a win.” - Harris on turning a triple play in a loss
On Wednesday, Atlanta’s Spencer Strider will pitch opposite Boston’s Brayan Bello. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m.