In a game that was almost a replay from last night in terms of the score board, the Braves once again struggled early, made a strong comeback effort, but in the end the bullpen collapsed in another losing effort.
Unfortunately, Ian Anderson was unable to carry over the effectiveness from his last start. A two-out two run double for Hunter Renfroe allowed the Red Sox to earn an early 2-0 lead. The Braves found immediate success in their attempt to respond, as Ronald Acuna Jr. doubled and Freddie Freeman walked to start the bottom of the first inning. Unfortunately, neither of them would move as the Braves could not take advantage of a scoring opportunity.
After the Red Sox were retired in order in the top of the second, the Braves once again threatened to score in the bottom of the inning. However, Acuna Jr. made a very loud out as his fly ball was caught at the wall to end the inning with two runners on. After Anderson worked around a two out double in the top of the third inning to keep the Red Sox scoreless, the Braves finally found success on an Abraham Almonte sacrifice fly to score Freeman to make the score 2-1.
Of course. Boston was ready to cash in on their response. A single and two doubles produced two runs in the top of the fourth inning, including an RBI double from Garrett Richards, to make the score 4-1. Fortunately, the Braves were ready do some damage of their own in the bottom of the fourth inning. A leadoff triple from Dansby Swanson, an RBI ground out, two hitters hit by a pitch, and an RBI single by Freddie Freeman made the score 4-3 through four innings.
In the top of the fifth inning, Kyle Muller, one of the Braves top pitching prospects, made his much anticipated debut in the majors. Unfortunately, the Red Sox were not in a welcoming mood. Muller gave up a single, a double, and another single to make the score 6-3. Muller was able to work around a second double in the inning to prevent further damage.
Just like last night, the Braves offense was ready to make this a game. A double from Almonte and Austin Riley reaching on an error allowed Swanson to step to the plate and crush a three-run home run to tie the score at six. Though the Braves would then be shut down in order to end the inning, they once again were able to bring the bats to life to tie the score after struggling early.
After Tyler Matzek kept Boston quiet in the top of the sixth inning, Freeman decided to join in on the fun with his 16th home run of the year to give the Braves the lead. Almonte followed up with another double with one out, but the Braves could not get him across the plate to extend their 7-6 lead.
Shane Greene entered the game for Matzek in the top of the seventh inning, and despite getting two outs, allowed the bases to fill-up. When Greene was replaced by A.J. Minter, Boston countered with Christian Arroyo, who then sent a 1-2 cutter into the leftfield seats to give the Red Sox a 10-7 lead. For the second straight night, the Atlanta bullpen allowed a home run that allowed Boston to take a 10-7 lead.
Despite the negative turn of events, the Braves offense went right back to work. Acuna Jr. singled and Freeman walked to load the bases for Albies with two outs. Despite facing a southpaw, Albies could not deliver, as he grounded out to end the scoring chance and the inning. The Red Sox and Braves combined for a single walk between the eighth inning and top half of the ninth inning, which set up the Braves needing to score three runs before they recorded their last three outs in the bottom of the ninth. Guillermo Herdia singled to begin the inning, and after Pablo Sandoval flied out, Acuna Jr. hit a screaming line drive to right field to score Heredia. However, Acuna Jr. was thrown out trying to leg out a triple. Freeman then went down on strikes to end the game with Boston winning 10-8.
If it felt like a repeat of last night’s game, that is because it very much was. Anderson allowed four runs on seven hits over four innings, while Muller and Minter combined to allow six more runs the rest of the way. Despite the Braves scoring 16 runs over the past two games, they still lost both of them due to allowing 20 runs and two costly bullpen collapses. Hopefully, the pitching will be able to get a bit better while the offense stays productive against St. Louis over the weekend. At some point, better breaks have to be in line for the Braves.