Red Sox

Alex Cora isn’t quite ready to believe the Red Sox won because he shaved his beard

"If our offense depends on my facial hair, we're in big trouble."

Alex Cora shaved beard
Alex Cora during the Red Sox game in Atlanta on Tuesday after shaving his beard. AP Photo/John Bazemore

The Bruins lost to the Hurricanes 5-1 in Game 5 of the first-round playoff series. Carolina now holds a 3-2 series lead, with Boston facing elimination in Thursday’s Game 6 at TD Garden at 7 p.m.

The Red Sox defeated the Braves 9-4 on Tuesday night. Boston will face Atlanta again this evening at 7:20 p.m.

Tonight at 7 p.m., the Celtics host the Bucks in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The series is currently tied 2-2.

Also tonight at 7 p.m., the Revolution face FC Cincinnati in a U.S. Open Cup matchup at Gillette Stadium.

Alex Cora’s take on shaving his beard: The Red Sox snapped a five-game losing streak in Atlanta with Tuesday’s win, pushing Boston’s 2022 record to 11-19 (still last in the American League East).

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The win came on the same day that manager Alex Cora showed off a new look. Cora shaved the beard he’d grown before the season. Coincidence?

“If we win 10 in a row, it’s on me because I should have recognized that before,” Cora quipped.

Still, the win was an undeniable departure from the pattern Boston had been stuck in, particularly on offense. Rafael Devers led the resurgent Red Sox display, belting a 432-foot grand slam. It was a marked improvement for a team ranked near the bottom of the league in runs scored.

Cora, who remains skeptical that it has anything to do with his beard, was asked if he thinks players might follow his lead with the clean-shaven look.

“They wouldn’t do that. No, they’re not gonna do that,” Cora said. “But I got a text from Angelica [Cora’s girlfriend], and she’s like, ‘Well, you know, I told you 10 days ago, it’s on you.’ But you know, like I said, if our offense depends on my facial hair, we’re in big trouble.”

The reality is that Boston’s newfound offense may have had more to do with Cora changing the lineup. Trevor Story moved from the top of the order to sixth (delivering with two hits), while — among other changes — Xander Bogaerts moved to hitting cleanup (promptly swatting three hits).

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“Flip-flopping the big boys, [to] see what happens,” Cora told reporters beforehand. “We’ve got some capable guys, and they’re not swinging the bat well. Hopefully, moving some people around helps.”

The results appeared to vindicate the lineup changes.

As for the decision to shave the beard, it was not for superstitious reasons.

“Yesterday I got up and took the family to the airport and decided to shave,” he explained.

Trivia: In 2018, Alex Cora became the fifth rookie manager in MLB history to win World Series. Who was the most recent example prior to Cora?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He managed a pitching staff that included Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.

More from Boston.com:

Al Horford on his emotional Game 4 dunk:

On this day: In 1972, the Bruins defeated the Rangers 3-0 to win the Stanley Cup Final. Boston’s triumph over New York in six games (4-2) was helped by a first-period goal from Bobby Orr and two more in the third from Wayne Cashman.

Bruins 1972

Daily highlight: Enrique Bradfield Jr. stole home with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning to help Vanderbilt keep the game alive on Tuesday. He would then score in the bottom of the 11th to give his team the 8-7 win over Indiana State.

Trivia answer: Bob Brenly

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