Red Sox

4 takeaways as Red Sox rally back four times but fall to Braves

Ronald Acuña Jr. provided the play of the game in the 11th.

Red Sox Braves
Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. beats the tag by Boston Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki to score on a two RBI single by Austin Riley. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

The Red Sox battled against Braves on Wednesday, but dropped a 9-7 loss in extra innings.

Here’s what happened.

The Big Picture

The Braves started strong in Tuesday’s back-and-forth marathon. Ronald Acuña singled. Two batters later, Austin Riley tripled to drive him in and start the scoring.

The Red Sox grabbed the lead in the bottom of the second behind Christian Arroyo’s 403-foot two-run homer. In the top of the third, the Braves took the lead again when Riley struck a 426-foot homer that soared out of Fenway to tie the game, and William Contreras ripped the second triple of the game for the Braves to drive in Matt Olson. But the Red Sox got a run back in the bottom of the inning on Tommy Pham’s solo homer to center.


In the bottom of the fourth, Arroyo drove in another run — doubling to right as Alex Verdugo motored home to tie the game at four.

Jarren Duran made some amends at Fenway for his recent struggles in the top of the fifth, cracking a homer to right center to give the Red Sox a lead.

But the Braves took advantage of another tough inning by Matt Barnes, tying the score at 5-5 in the top of the sixth, and they took the lead when Acuña’s aggressive base-running created a run in the top of the eighth.

The Red Sox answered again in the bottom of the eighth, when J.D. Martinez singled in Xander Bogaerts after a big double by Bogaerts. The teams exchanged runs once more in the 10th.

Then the Braves took charge. Acuña singled, which sent the lead-off runner — Harris II — to third. Harris scored when Riley grounded a one-out single to left. In a surprise move, the Braves sent Acuña, which set the stage for this phenomenal play at the plate by the Braves star.

The Red Sox went quietly in the bottom of the frame and dropped their third in a row.

Star of the Game

Austin Riley — 3-for-6, five RBIs, run triple, homer.


As noted on the NESN broadcast, Riley now has 10 RBIs in six games at Fenway. His huge night was crucial for the Braves.

What It Means

The Red Sox may have been in striking distance after the trade deadline, but the AL East is quickly slipping away from them. The Orioles beat the Blue Jays on Tuesday, which gave them a 3.5-game cushion over the Red Sox. The Rays are up by another game. The Blue Jays lead by 6.5.


1. Acuña’s slide deserves a little more examination. Pham’s throw was solid, and Kevin Plawecki didn’t play it particularly poorly. Acuña just hit the ground at the perfect angle, reached his arm as far as it would go, and brushed home plate as he went by. Even Plawecki looked a little confused — he applied a tag to Acuña after the Braves star landed from his sky-high leap in celebration.

Technically, Acuña’s wasn’t the run that ended the game, since the Red Sox didn’t score in the bottom of the 11th, but it was the run that deflated the Red Sox and made them think about scoring two instead of just pushing their leadoff runner across in the frame. For all intents and purposes, he won a very hard-fought game with an absolutely spectacular play.


2. Eric Hosmer is “very sore” after suffering a left knee contusion, per Alex Cora postgame. While he’s considered day-to-day, he’s unlikely to play on Wednesday.

3. Matt Barnes was frustratingly close to getting out of the top of the sixth inning unscathed after getting back-to-back grounders to open the frame and two strikes and opening an 0-2 count on Orlando Arcia. But Arcia battled back and waited out four straight balls, and Michael Harris II hit a double to deep center that drove in Arcia. Barnes was removed in favor of Hirokazu Sawamura, who ended the frame with a strikeout.

Barnes continues to look (and look and look and look) for redemption. The Red Sox’s bullpen, meanwhile, is in trouble with Tanner Houck hitting the 15-day IL with back inflammation.

Houck called it “heartbreaking” to miss time.

“It’s going to be tough, but guys have to step up,” Cora said postgame.

4. Would you rather have another takeaway from that game, or would you rather watch Red Sox prospect Blaze Jordan absolutely obliterate a ball in Greenville tonight?

We figured.

The Red Sox and Braves face off at 7:10 p.m. again on Wednesday.


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