The 2020 regular season is in the books as the Atlanta Braves fell to the Boston Red Sox 9-1.
The Red Sox got off to a fast start against Bryse Wilson as Jackie Bradley Jr. doubled on a long fly to left and then came around to score on a rocket single by Rafael Devers. The Braves would get that run back in the bottom half of the inning when Marcell Ozuna connected on his NL leading 18th home run to tie the game 1-1.
Wilson would work in and out of trouble in the second and the third and would then exit as Brian Snitker elected to get his bullpen some work in advance of Wednesday’s playoff opener.
Wilson would exit having allowed five hits and two walks but just one run in three innings. He would give way to Will Smith who retired the first two men he faced but then hung a slider to Bradley Jr. who lined one into Atlanta’s bullpen for a solo homer to put Boston back in front 2-1. That snapped a string of six straight scoreless appearances by Smith who has allowed 11 hits this season but seven of them have left the ballpark.
Darren O’Day took over for the Braves in the fifth and served up a solo home run to Xander Bogaerts on his second pitch to extend the deficit to 3-1.
Nick Pivetta held the Braves in check except for the Ozuna homer over five innings. He would exit having allowed four hits, two walks and one run while striking out five.
Atlanta threatened in the sixth against reliever Darwinzon Hernandez. Pablo Sandoval worked a walk to begin the inning. After a line out by Adam Duvall, Nick Markakis singled to left to put runners at first and second. Dansby Swanson then walked to load the bases. Hernandez then battled back and got Tyler Flowers looking at a pitch on the outside corner and then struck out Ender Inciarte to escape the jam.
Chris Martin took over in the seventh but wasn’t there long as he called for team trainers after throwing just four pitches. The Braves would later announce that Martin left the game with right groin discomfort. Luke Jackson would replace Martin and retired Devers on a ground out before the wheels came off. Cesar Puello singled with one out and then J.D. Martinez drove an opposite field homer out to right to push Boston’s lead to 5-1. Kevin Plawecki then worked a walk and moved up to second when Bobby Dalbec was hit by a pitch. Michael Chavis then doubled off the back corner of the third base bag that scored Plawecki to make it 6-1. By the time the smoke cleared, Boston had tacked on two more runs against Jackson and would lead 8-1.
The Red Sox added another run in the ninth on a solo home run by Jonathan Arauz off of Josh Tomlin in the ninth.
The Braves finish the regular season with a 35-25 record. Freddie Freeman went 1-for-4 in Sunday’s loss and will finish second in the batting race to Juan Soto with a .341 average. Ozuna goes 2-for-4 and finishes as the league leader in the National League with 18 home runs and 56 RBI to go along with a .338 average.