Kyle Wright has first poor outing; Braves lose 9-4 to Red Sox
Tuesday’s Braves-Red Sox series opener felt like a typical Kyle Wright start this season. Wright set down the first three Boston batters in order in the opening inning, and it appeared he was on his way to yet another strong outing. But everything changed rather quickly in the second. Following a groundout to short by Xander Bogaerts to lead off the frame, five-straight Red Sox batters reached base, resulting in a 2-0 deficit for the Braves. Wright’s second out finally came, though, as Austin Riley corralled an Enrique Rodriguez ground ball and got the forceout at home. However, needing one more out to get out of the jam, Rafael Devers made the Braves righty pay for such a sloppy start to the game. Devers launched a painful grand slam, and just like that Atlanta was down 6-0.
The Braves offense answered in the third, though. Matt Olson continued his MVP-like start to the year by leading off with a double to right, then shortly after advanced to third from a wild pitch by pitcher Garrett Whitlock. A walk by Austin Riley put runners on the corners with no outs, and following a mound visit by the Red Sox, Marcell Ozuna lifted a sac-fly to right to push in Olson. The deficit was then cut to just three, when two batters later, Travis d’Arnaud belted his third home run of the year. All of a sudden, the Braves were right back in it at 6-3.
Wright settled in during the fourth and fifth innings. He wasn’t necessarily sharp, but a double in the former, to go with a single and a walk in the latter frame was all he allowed over his final eight batters. That aforementioned free pass ended the former prospect’s day, with veteran Jesse Chavez taking over on the mound to get the final out of the fifth. A trio of Atlanta relievers – Tyler Matzek, Jackson Stephens and A.J. Minter – managed to keep things where they were for three innings. And in the seventh, the Braves offense rallied again when Ozuna knocked in Ronald Acuna Jr. with a ground ball, making it a 6-4 game.
However, in the top-half of the ninth, Boston pulled away. Tyler Thornburg came in to pitch the final frame, but he allowed the first five Red Sox batters to reach, capped off by a two-run, line drive single by Trevor Story.
Thornburg did a nice job of settling down and getting all three outs in consecutive fashion to limit any more runs. But the damage had been done, and unfortunately the Braves went down quietly in the bottom-half of the inning, as Dansby Swanson flew out and both Acuña and Olson struck out.
Fittingly, perhaps the two hottest hitters in Atlanta’s offense were the only ones to contribute towards the team’s tally on Tuesday, as Olson and d’Arnaud finished the game with two RBI apiece. The former will carry a .270 AVG into Wednesday, while the latter is currently sporting a solid .309 AVG.
The Braves and Red Sox will be back at it again on Wednesday for Game 2, with a 7:20 PM (ET) start time. Boston will go with veteran Nathan Eovaldi, with Atlanta opting for Ian Anderson. With this an interleague matchup, the Bravos need a win today to come away with a series split, before heading into Thursday’s off day and a tough weekend series at home against the Padres.