Boston Red Sox halted their slide of nine straight defeats with victory over the Atlanta Braves 8-6 at Turner Field.
At the end of the fourth innings the Red Sox looked to be heading to their tenth consecutive defeat when they trailed by five runs.
But David Ortiz, who had been horribly out of form over the last month, turned things around for the Red Sox with a three-run homer after two outs in the fifth to lead the Boston comeback. Slugger Ortiz also provided his side with the lead through a magnificent sacrifice fly in the seventh after a long rain delay.
As a result the Red Sox won for the first time since May 11 to pick up their season record to 21-29. At the start of the nine game losing streak the Red Sox were tied up at 20-20 after an indifferent start to the defence of their World Series championship.
Perhaps more importantly, the Red Sox avoided setting a new club record of the most consecutive losses for over 20 years.
Speaking to MLB.com, Ortiz said: “We’ve been fighting, trying to make things happen. Everybody stayed together to fight through it and we ended up getting the win. Hopefully this is the beginning of something good.”
Ortiz was supported by fellow struggler Dustin Pedroia who managed to go 1-for-3 with two RBIs and two walks.
The performance was a war of attrition rather than big-hitting beauty as Ortiz and company ground out their runs for victory. The Braves were full off confidence entering the game after winning six of their past eight games and after taking a 6-1 lead after four innings, it looked like the same old story of late for the 2014 champions.
Despite the batters taking the glory against the Braves, the team owed a great deal to their supporting bullpen, which fired six shutout innings after Clay Buchholz had another night to forget. The pitcher threw just three innings and went for six runs before being replaced.
The two sides face one another tonight in Atlanta before they both travel to Fenway Park for another two game series.
Red Sox manager John Farrell will hope last night’s game was a genuine turning point in their season. They currently sit bottom of the American League East division, a whopping eight games back from table-toppers Toronto Blue Jays.
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