The Boston Red Sox officially have closed the book on their disappointing 2020 abbreviated season, and numerous questions loom for the offseason.
But at least Sunday against the Atlanta Braves, they ended things on a high note.
The 9-1 win allowed Boston to take the three-game series, and it converted runs off 15 hits and four walks.
And in what could be his last game in a Boston uniform, Jackie Bradley Jr. was excellent. He went 3-for-6 with two runs and an RBI (a triple short of hitting for the cycle), and made one of his signature catches in center.
In addition to the center fielder, Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez and Jonathan Araúz all homered, with Araúz notching the first of his career.
Nick Pivetta earned the victory on the mound, and with the win, the Red Sox ended their season 24-36. The Braves, meanwhile, fell Ito 35-25.
Here’s how it all went down:
GAME IN A WORD
For all the adversity the Red Sox faced in 2020, they ended a season on a high note. But Boston will miss Bradley if this was his last game with the team.
ON THE BUMP
— Pivetta got the start for the Red Sox and went a full five innings in a solid outing.
He gave up four hits and two walks that led to one earned run, but struck out five Braves batters in a solid start.
— Darwinzon Hernandez relieved Pivetta in the sixth to give the game some drama.
He walked Pablo Sandoval, the first batter he saw, to start the inning before recording an out and giving up a single to Tyler Markakis. The two runners advanced to second and third on a passed ball by Kevin Plawecki. And Hernandez loaded them after walking Dansby Swanson.
But the lefty got out of the jam with two-consecutive strikeouts to end the inning without giving up a run.
In total, he gave up one hit and two walks with two Ks in one inning of work.
— Ryan Weber pitched the seventh and eighth for Boston, giving up just two hits with a strikeout to keep the Braves at bay.
— Mike Kickham closed out the win for Boston, throwing a clean ninth inning with one strikeout.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Boston got off to a good start.
Leading off for the Red Sox, Bradley doubled deep to left field to set up Rafael Devers for an RBI-single in the very next at-bat to give the team a 1-0 advantage.
Devers advanced to third after a Martinez groundout, and Plawecki was walked after that. But Boston stranded both after the third out.
— Boston had just one hit in the top of the fourth inning, but it was a big one.
With two outs, Bradley made it count by hitting a go-ahead home run off Braves reliever Will Smith to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.
— Another solo shot came in the Red Sox’s next turn, with Bogaerts leading off the top of the fifth with one of his own to make it a 3-1 score.
— For all of his struggles this season, Martinez started to figure things out as the season wound down. And the same was true Sunday.
In the top of the seventh, César Puello singled and was brought home by a two-run home run from Martinez, his seventh of the season. The homer made it a 5-1 game to give the Red Sox some insurance.
That wasn’t it for the seventh, though.
Plawecki walked to get a runner back on, and advanced to second after Bobby Dalbec was hit by a pitch. Michael Chavis hit a double to score Plawecki, and a Jonathan Araúz single brought in two RBI to make it 8-1.
Araúz took third thanks to a single from Bradley, but they were both stranded after Devers grounded out.
— Araúz finished a nice day with the first home run of his career. His solo homer in the top of the ninth gave the Red Sox a 9-1 lead and earned him a ride in the home run cart.
— Bradley and Araúz each had three hits for Boston, while Bogaerts and Puello had two.
Devers, Martinez, Plawecki, Chavis and Lin all recorded a hit, and though Dalbec did not, he at least walked to get on base.
TWEET OF THE GAME
Yep, this is an accurate caption.
With the 2020 season officially coming to a close, the Red Sox enter the offseason in search of a new manager.