John Farrell wasn’t around to see the end of his team’s latest defeat.
The Boston Red Sox manager was ejected in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s matchup with the Atlanta Braves for arguing a check swing call, highlighting an all-around frustrating night for Farrell’s club.
The Red Sox took two leads in the ballgame but could hold neither as the Braves scored four runs over the final four innings to win 5-2 at Turner Field.
GAME IN A WORD
Atlanta boasts a bevy of Boston castoffs, and it was an unlikely ex-Sox player who did the most damage Wednesday night. Shortstop Pedro Ciriaco, who entered the game with just nine hits all season, collected three in four at-bats and also drove in each of the Braves’ first two runs.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
The Braves sent eight men to the plate in the seventh inning to turn a 2-2 tie into a 4-2 Atlanta lead. Former Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes added an insurance run in the eighth, and closer Jason Grilli shut the door on the visitors in the ninth.
ON THE BUMP
— Red Sox starter Joe Kelly was able to stay away from trouble until the fourth, when Ciriaco drove in Atlanta’s first run to tie the game at one.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia made a game attempt to get in front of Ciriaco’s blooper and prevent Juan Uribe from scoring from second, but he ended up deflecting the ball toward the foul line, allowing Uribe to score with ease.
Kelly tossed his only 1-2-3 inning in the fifth, then allowed the first two men to reach in the sixth via walk and single. The base hit continued an inauspicious night with the glove for Pedroia, who was in position to field Uribe’s sinking liner but was unable to make the play.
That was it for Kelly, who was relieved by Robbie Ross Jr. with two men on and nobody out in the sixth.
— Ross struck out Kelly Johnson and got A.J. Pierzynski to ground into a fielder’s choice before giving way to Alexi Ogando. Ogando was unable to finish the job, surrendering a two-out single by Ciriaco that scored Nick Markakis from third and knotted the score at two runs apiece.
Ogando then struck out a pinch-hitting Gomes to end the inning. That closed book on Kelly, who was charged with two runs on five hits in five-plus innings of work. He also walked three and struck out three.
Holding leads was an issue for the Red Sox starter, as no Boston advantage lasted more than a half-inning.
— Junichi Tazawa came on to work the seventh. He retired the first batter he faced but then allowed three consecutive singles to give Atlanta its first lead of the night.
Cameron Maybin reached when Mike Napoli could not handle Xander Bogaerts’ throw from short, Daniel Castro executed a textbook hit-and-run in his first major league at-bat and Markakis singled through the left side to make it 3-2 Braves.
Tazawa then issued a walk to reload the bases and induced a forceout at home before being lifted in favor of left-hander Tommy Layne.
— Layne walked Pierzynski on five pitches, forcing in a run and extending Atlanta’s lead to 4-2. He got Ciriaco to fly out to center to close out the inning.
— Craig Breslow allowed a walk, a hit and a run in the eighth.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Playing in a National League ballpark typically leaves teams with a not-so-skilled hitter at the bottom of their lineup, but Kelly did a nice job of helping himself out in the fourth. After the Red Sox loaded the bases, the right-hander beat out a two-out infield single to drive in the game’s first run.
Braves second baseman Jace Peterson took his time before throwing to first, apparently unaware of the fact that, despite the “unathletic pitcher” stigma, Kelly is one of Boston’s fastest players.
— After going down in order in the fifth, the Red Sox jumped back ahead thanks to a solo home run by Napoli in the sixth. It was the first homer since June 3 for the first baseman, breaking a streak of 44 at-bats without one.
— Pablo Sandoval continued his strong series by going 2-for-3 and reaching on an error. He and Brock Holt, who hit for the cycle when these teams met Tuesday at Fenway Park, were the only Red Sox batters to record multiple hits.
— David Ortiz did not start the game but pinch-hit with one out in the bottom of the ninth. He popped up to Ciriaco in shallow left field.
— Pedroia, who sat out Tuesday’s win with knee soreness, went 0-for-5 in his return to the lineup.
TWEET OF THE GAME
[tweet https://twitter.com/JMastrodonato/status/611328684486692864 align=’center’]
These teams play one more Thursday at Turner Field before the Red Sox ship out to Kansas City for a weekend series with the defending American League champion Royals.
Thumbnail photo via Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports Images