BOSTON – (Staff Report) – The Boston Red Sox relied on the long-ball and an efficient bullpen effort to defeat Atlanta 6-2 in the first game of a three-game inter-league series against the National League leaders. In the 7th inning, Boston right-fielder Mookie Betts belted a 1-1 pitch from reliever Matt Wisler into the left-field Green Monster seats at Fenway Park to ice the victory for the Red Sox and 1B Mitch Moreland added a solo homer in the 8th inning to secure the win, Boston’s 35th of the season against 16 losses. Atlanta is 29-20.
Mitch Moreland (18) will be the FT Red Sox 1B
Boston relievers Heath Hembree, Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel finished the game off for Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez.
Boston got on the scoreboard in the home half of the 4th inning when both J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts homered into the Green Monster seats at Fenway Park. Martinez has 16 HRs, trailing only Betts who has the MLB lead in HRs with 17. After the two HR barrage in the 4th, Boston took the lead an inning later when Andrew Benintendi hit a long sacrifice fly to center to score Jackie Bradley Jr. who started the one-out, one-run rally with a triple. The Red Sox ended up with four home runs.
Rodriguez allowed runners to reach base in each of the first three innings, but it wasn’t until the top of the 3rd that he let up a pair of runs by virtue of a Nick Markakis double that scored Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman to make it 2-0 Braves. Freeman scored from 1B on that double, as he gambled it would clear Bradley’s considerable range in center field. Rodriguez was lifted in the 6th inning after going 5.2 and allowing the two runs on six hits with three walks and earning seven strike-outs. He threw 101 pitches with61 for strikes before giving way to middle reliever Heath Hembree.
Julio Teheran went six innings for Atlanta, allowing three earned runs on four hits (the two HRs) and three walks. He struck-out four by throwing 61 strikes amongst his 109 pitches he’s for the night. He gave way to Jesse Biddle in the 7th.
GAME NOTES: Since moving Ozzie Albies to the lead-off spot and batting rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. in the two-hole, the Atlanta Braves are 14-9. When Acuna gets at least a hit, Atlanta is 12-4. … Before this Interleague series against the Red Sox, the Braves swept a two-game set from AL East Tampa Bay Rays on May 8-9. … Aside from the Red Sox big decision to place Hanley Ramirez on DFA (Designated for Assignment) and activating 2B Dustin Pedroia, the Braves today placed LHP Luiz Gohara on the Bereavement/Family Emergency Leave list and recalled RHP Matt Wisler from their Triple-A farm team in Gwinnett. Wisler entered the game in the 7th inning tonight. … Including the effort vs. Boston’s LHP Eduardo Rodriguez tonight, the Atlanta Braves will face two other lefties in the weekend series as Drew Pomeranz (1-2, 5.97 ERA) and Chris Sale (5-1, 2.17 ERA) are both scheduled to pitch. The Braves are 9-4 in games against LHP starters this season. … The Red Sox are 126-68 all-time of Interleague play at home. … They’ve won each of their last 6 home games vs. NL clubs, as well as 15 of their last 16. … The Sox are 24-3 vs. NL teams at Fenway Park since 6/16/15, and 101-40 since the start of 2003. … In pregame ceremonies, the Red Sox honored the new members of the club’s Hall of Fame, including former players Kevin Youkilis, Derek Lowe, Mike Lowell, and the late John Frank “Buck” Freeman. The team also paid tribute to two non-uniformed inductees Alphonso “Al” Green and Arthur D’Angelo. … Additionally, the MLB debut of Pumpsie Green, who became the first African American player in Red Sox history on 7/21/59, has been selected as the “Memorable Red Sox Moment” for its special significance.