BOSTON -- The red-hot Dustin Pedroia laced two homers, including a grand slam high off of Pesky's Pole in right field, to lead the Red Sox to a 9-4 victory over the Braves on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.Red Sox Sox manager John Farrell thinks Pedroia might have even called
BOSTON -- The red-hot Dustin Pedroia laced two homers, including a grand slam high off of Pesky's Pole in right field, to lead the Red Sox to a 9-4 victory over the Braves on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
Red Sox Sox manager John Farrell thinks Pedroia might have even called the landing spot of the slam in mid-sprint.
"I think he might have even been screaming, 'Pesky's Pole!' rounding first base in hopes he'd clip it," Farrell said.
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
Steven Wright (2-2, 1.37 ERA) pitched brilliantly, allowing three hits and one earned run over seven innings while striking out eight. The slam by Pedroia -- the third in his career -- came in the second and made it a 6-1 game. Pedroia has been on fire of late, hitting .441 (15-for-34) with four doubles, a triple and three homers since April 21.
"I'm just trying to have quality at-bats, get a good pitch to hit, put a good swing on it, get on base and try to score runs for us," Pedroia said. "That's my job, to try to set the table for the big guys behind me. Lately, I've been getting on. It's good."
Pedroia's second homer, a solo shot over the Green Monster, was in the eighth and one pitch after A.J. Pierzynski and third baseman Daniel Castro watched a foul pop fall between them.
Braves starter Bud Norris lasted just 1 1/3 innings, getting belted for seven hits and six runs.
"I felt like I was making some good pitches and competing," Norris said. " … But that's all I can do. I was just trying to battle and trying to get outs. They put some good swings on some balls and really damage on some mistakes. So not much I can say. I'm frustrated, and I'll take ownership."
Freddie Freeman led a mostly quiet Atlanta offense with two hits, including a solo shot to right that snapped a 15-game homerless streak for the Braves. The Red Sox will try to sweep this split-venue, four-game series on Thursday night.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Papi's triple-double:David Ortiz smashed doubles in his first three at-bats to tie his career high in a single game. His second double had a slice of history. WIth that one swing, Ortiz passed Hall of Famers Jimmie Foxx and Ted Wlliams with career extra-base hit No. 1,118 for 17th on the all-time list. Ortiz had a 3-for-5 night with two RBIs.
"That's what happens when you play for a long time," Ortiz said. "Man, I'm old."
A.J.'s milestone: In his first plate appearance of the night -- and his first time facing knuckleballer Wright -- Pierzynski singled to left for his 2,000th career hit. He is just the ninth player in history with as many hits while playing primarily as a catcher. More >
The Wright stuff: Wright has been a model of consistency for the Red Sox after winning the fifth starter's competition late in Spring Training. In all four of his starts, he's gone at least six innings while giving up two earned runs or fewer. Perhaps the most telling sign of how violent Wright's knuckleball can be was that catcher Ryan Hanigan had four passed balls.
"Yeah, it was really dancing tonight," Hanigan said. "I think the wind played a factor. It was going all over the place. But he pitched well, he threw enough strikes. We played great defense for him." More >
Snapping the streak: Leading off the eighth inning, Freeman snapped the Braves' 15-game homerless streak. On a 1-1 89-mph fastball from left-hander Tommy Layne, Freeman sent the pitch into the bleachers behind the Red Sox's bullpen in right-center. It was Freeman's second of the season and the team's fourth. The 15-game streak without a home run was a team record, surpassing the previous drought of 14 games in September 1970. It was also the longest in the Majors since St. Louis went 18 games in '91. Three home runs in the first 20 games were the fewest for the Braves in that span to start a season since the '31 team also had three.
"Get the monkey off the back," Freeman said of the home run. "Hopefully getting that one out of the way, we'll start hitting a few more, especially when they need to count with guys on base and in scoring position." More >
"We keep grinding. I feel like a deli, the guy serving at a Publix Deli. You got to take a number and bring guys in and pump them up and talk to them individually and do all the stuff, coach them up and do all that stuff. So, we'll continue doing that. We got to do that and get out of this funk that we're in." -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, on what he can say to his players during this difficult start to their season
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Ortiz became the first Red Sox player to hit three doubles in a game at age 40 or older. Ortiz's 81 doubles at Fenway since 2013 are the most by any player at home over that span.
BRADLEY'S FLYING CATCH
Jackie Bradley Jr.'s near nightly highlight-reel play came just two batters into Wednesday night's game. Castro hit a sinking liner to right-center, and Bradley raced in pursuit. To get to his destination quicker, Bradley went airborne in horizontal fashion and made the sensational catch.
Braves:The Braves face the Red Sox for the final time this season on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. ET at Fenway Park. Making his fourth start, right-hander Jhoulys Chacin is looking for his first win of the season. Since going six scoreless innings against the Nationals in his first outing on April 12, he allowed a combined seven runs (six earned) in 11 innings against the Marlins and Mets. He is 1-1 with a 5.91 ERA in his career against the Red Sox. The win came on June 22, 2010, while with the Rockies.
Red Sox: Right-hander Clay Buchholz, who has had a disjointed start this season, will try to get on track when he pitches the finale of this four-game series against the Braves on Thursday night. Buchholz gave up a grand slam to Colby Rasmus in his last start, taking the loss to the Astros.
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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.
Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Braves on Wednesday.