You can only push your luck so many times with the Red Sox.
The Braves got out of a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the fourth inning. That was fortunate.
They couldn’t expect to get out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the fifth inning. That was simply too much to ask.
The Red Sox scored three times in the fifth on the way to a 5-1 victory over the Braves Tuesday night at SunTrust Park. The Braves’ lead in the National League East was trimmed to three games with the loss and the Phillies’ win over the Marlins.
The Red Sox decisive inning chased Braves starter Sean Newcomb after he got in the trouble. Red Sox starter Rick Porcello led off with a single. A walk to Mookie Betts and a single by J.D. Martinez sandwiched a flyout from Ian Kinsler.
Xander Bogaerts walked in a run that tied the game at 1-1 and chased Newcomb. Steve Pearce singled in another run and Eduardo Nunez grounded out for one more score with Shane Carle on in relief.
Newcomb got out of a bases-loaded no-outs jam in the fourth. After a walk to Martinez, a double by Bogaerts and another walk to Pearce, the Red Sox had a major threat. However, Nunez popped out to shortstop, Jackie Bradley was called out on strikes and Sandy Leon flied out to center.
That crisis was averted.
Newcomb went 4 1/3 innings and was charged with the three earned runs. He walked five and struck out two.
“That’s an understatement,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said when asked if Newcomb pitched on the edge in the game. “Command (was off), of everything. Got away with it the one inning. This is an experienced, really strong ball club. They are not going to chase. They are going to make you make pitches and they are not going to help you out. They are too good.”
Newcomb has struggled in his last six starts. Since coming a strike away from a no-hitter on July 29, he is 1-3 with a 6.37 ERA, allowing 21 earned runs and 40 hits in 29 2/3 innings with 17 walks and 30 strikeouts. Over the past four starts in Atlanta, he is 0-3 with a 10.70 ERA.
“I kind of did it to myself for the most part,” Newcomb said of the trouble he faced against the Red Sox. “That’s definitely frustrating.”
The Braves took an early lead with Kurt Suzuki’s 10th home run of the season, a two-out solo shot to right center in the bottom of the second inning. Suzuki added a double for two of the Braves’ four hits.
The Red Sox also loaded the bases, this time with two outs, in the sixth inning off Luke Jackson. They scored twice more on a two-run single by Pearce.
The Braves lost shortstop Dansby Swanson in the second inning after he was hit in the helmet by an 85 miles per hour pitch from Porcello. Swanson was forced to leave the game even after he got up on his own and began down the first base line after consulting with a trainer. He was replaced by Charlie Culberson.
Kyle Wright made his major league debut as the Braves right-hander entered the game in the seventh inning. The 2017 first-round draft pick was called up on Saturday and is the first player from the draft to make the major leagues. The 22-year old went 8-9 with a 3.46 ERA between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett. Wright worked a perfect inning, striking out Bradley and Leon. Bradley’s bat ended up past first base in foul territory on a swinging third strike. He allowed just a walk in the eighth inning.
“Getting to pitch for your childhood team growing up is really special,” said Wright, who is from Huntsville, Ala. “To do it here and have a good outing is definitely something I will remember for the rest of my life.”
The Braves lost the opener of the three-game series by allowing five late runs on Monday. The series concludes Wednesday afternoon.