Markakis keys rally as Braves top Red Sox
ATLANTA -- The Braves came up with the timely hits on Wednesday night, leading to a 5-2 victory over the reeling Red Sox.
With the game locked in a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning, Nick Markakis drilled an RBI single through the hole and into left field to give the Braves their first lead of the night. A.J. Pierzynski walked with the bases loaded for an insurance run.
"I tell you what, we battled offensively," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "We scratch and claw for every single run."
Mike Napoli's homer to left-center in the sixth had given the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. But Pedro Ciriaco belted an RBI single against Alexei Ogando to tie it in the bottom of the inning. Ciriaco also had a game-tying RBI double in the fourth.
Alex Wood went six strong innings for the Braves, giving up five hits and two runs (one earned). He walked two and struck out seven. Joe Kelly wasn't as efficient as he wanted to be for Boston, throwing 103 pitches over five-plus innings. The righty allowed five hits and two runs while walking three and striking out three. He put the Red Sox on the board with an RBI infield single in the fourth.
"You know, Joe kept a big inning from happening," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "There were a number of foul balls, some deep counts that ran his pitch count up. And on a hot night, he gave us everything he had. He leaves with a one-run lead, and unfortunately we can't either extend it or keep their offense in check."
Atlanta has taken two of the first three games of this home-and-home, four-game stretch against a Boston team that has lost eight out of nine.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Power of Pedro: Ciriaco had another solid offensive performance, filling in as the starter at shortstop for Andrelton Simmons (bruised right hand). He finished the game 3-for-4 with two RBIs, tying the game in the fourth and again in the sixth. On Tuesday in Boston, Ciriaco went 2-for-4 with a double, a run and an RBI. More>
Farrell boils over: Farrell was ejected in the bottom of the seventh by first-base umpire Larry Vanover after expressing his displeasure from the third-base dugout at Ciriaco getting credit for holding up his swing. It was the second time Farrell has been thrown out of a game this season.
"I don't know that he could have heard me from that distance. I motioned after the check swing of Ciriaco," said Farrell. "It was clearly a full swing. And he ran me at that point, so I went out to argue my case." More >
Whoa, Castro: The same day he was called up to the Major Leagues for the first time, Braves infielder Daniel Castro managed his first big league hit. The pinch-hit single came at a decisive moment in the game, as Castro sent a ball through the right side of the infield on a hit-and-run play that moved Cameron Maybin to third base, setting up Markakis' game-winner.
"You see Castro get in there, not only does he get a pinch-hit AB for his first hit, but it was a hit-and-run, too," Wood said. "So that was pretty cool to watch for sure." More >
Kelly legs out hit: In the top of the fourth, Kelly came up with the bases loaded and two outs and hit a grounder up the middle that Braves second baseman Jace Peterson fielded. Kelly, who has good speed, motored to first and beat the throw, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.
"I always hustle no matter what, and he took his time and that was his fault," said Kelly.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the top of the first inning, Xander Bogaerts hit a grounder to third and Brock Holt tried to beat the throw to second to avoid the forceout. He was called out, but Farrell challenged the call. After a delay of one minute and 44 seconds, the call was allowed to stand. Burning the challenge early proved costly to Farrell. In the second, Mookie Betts dropped down a bunt that moved runners to second and third, but was called out at first. Even though replays clearly showed he was safe, Farrell could not challenge the call.
"He was huge. You saw that in Spring Training. He was able to get the big hits in Spring Training, and he came up here today with a big spot start and did it again for us." -- Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, on Ciriaco
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Napoli's homer gave him 10 for the season, meaning he has double-digit home runs in all 10 of his Major League seasons.
Red Sox: Right-hander Clay Buchholz, who has pitched pretty well of late, draws the start in the last of four games between the Red Sox and Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET on Thursday night in Atlanta. Buchholz had a tough outing at Turner Field last year, giving up six runs on four hits and eight walks in three innings.
Braves: Shelby Miller is set to take the mound for the Braves. June has seen a slightly less sharp version of Miller, as he has posted a 4.08 ERA in three starts since the end of May.
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