Red Sox

Final: Red Sox 8, Atlanta Braves 2

Tanner Houck's charmed month continued Saturday night.

In his final start of his rookie season, Houck won for the third time in three tries, allowing just one run while striking out 10 over six innings, and got all the offensive backing he would need in the second inning.

Christian Vazquez hit a grand slam and Bobby Dalbec belted a two-run homer as part of an eight-run second.

WHO: Red Sox (22-36) vs. Atlanta Braves (35-23)
WHEN: 7:10 p.m.
WHERE: Truist Field
SEASON SERIES TO DATE: ATL 4-0
SERIES TO DATE: ATL 1-0
STARTING PITCHERS: RHP Tanner Houck (2-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Tucker Davidson (MLB debut)

LINEUPS

RED SOX

Verdugo RF
Devers 3B
Bogaerts SS
Martinez DH
Vazquez C
Bradley Jr. CF
Dalbec 1B
Chavis LF
Arroyo 2B

BRAVES

Acuna RF
Freeman 1B
Ozuna DH
d'Arnaud C
Albies 2B
Duvall LF
Swanson SS
Hechavaria 3B
Inciarte CF

IN-GAME OBSERVATIONS:

T9th: Scary moment as manager Ron Roenicke is struck in the dugout by a foul ball, then tumbles backward in the afterward.

B7th: Austin Brice, fresh off the IL, has a strong inning, with two strikeouts.

B6th:  That's likely it for Houck, who allows a run on three hits while walking three and fanning 10. He's at 94 pitches and very soon, likely to improve to 3-0.

T6th:  Meanwhile, the Red Sox have just one hit since Vazquez's grand slam in the third.

B5th:  Finally, Tanner Houck allows an earned run in the big leagues, tagged for a leadoff homer by Dansby Swanson, who jumps on a flat slider.

B4th:   Once again, Houck doesn't get rattled. With two on and no out, gets two strikeouts and is helped out on a nice play from Xander Bogaerts, fielding a ball behind the second base bag and throwing to first to nab Adam Duvall for the third out.

B4th:  Houck off to a rough start in the bottom of the fourth, with back-to-back walks to Freddie Freeman and Marccell Ozuna.

B2nd: Meanwhile, almost as an afterthought following an eight-run explosion, Houck has fanned five through the first two innings.

T2nd:  Christian Vazquez greets reliever Grant Dayton by tomahawking a high fastball into the upper deck in left for a grand slam. That's the second Red Sox grand slam of the season and the rout is on.

T2nd:  Inability of Dansby Swanson to turn a double play on a grounder from Rafael Devers has now resulted in two more runs for the Red Sox. Rookie Tucker Davidson should be out of the inning. Instead, a run scored when the Braves couldn't double up Devers, and another one scored when, with the inning extended, Xander Bogaerts singled to left.

T2nd: On a pitch at the very bottom of strike zone, Bobby Dalbec goes down to get it and cranks a two-run homer to left, staking the Sox to a 2-0 lead. That's his eighth homer.

B1st: Tanner Houck picks up right where he left off in his last start. Impressive first inning with two strikeouts sandwiched around a two-out single by Marcell Ozuna.

PRE-GAME NOTES

  • The Red Sox activated RHP Andrew Triggs and optioned LHP Jeffrey Springs to the alternate training site.
  • Jackie Bradley Jr., addressing his pending free agency, was asked about his interest to remain in Boston. "It's a two-way street,'' he said. "You have to play out the situation. I don't know what the future holds. You kind of go through the process and you find out what's going to be the best fit. If the opportunity presented itself (to remain) and (depending) on how things play out, yet (I'd like to return). I'm excited for the opportunity and I think that it's going to be an interesting one.''
  • Bradley understands that the free agent market could be severely impacted by the pandemic. "You play the cards you're dealt,'' he said. "You can either make the best of it or you can not do anything about it. I'll just go out there and do what I can control and move forward. Ultimately, I'm going to do what's best for my family.''
  • Looking back on his tenure with the Red Sox, Bradley said: "(The nine years) have been everything that a ballplayer can go through -- the ups, the downs, the great times, the difficult times. You sit back and you reflect and you become thankful for every trial and tribulation that you went through and knowing you did the best to stay true to yourself.''
  •  Bradley got to Fenway early Thursday, the day of the final home game of the season and reflected on what he he and the team had accomplished. "I felt at peace, at ease,'' he said.
  • Ron Roenicke is uncertain of his status going forward, but can deal with the unknown,. "It really hasn't been unsettling,'' he said. "I would say if I was just starting out as a young manager, I guess it would be a little unsettling. But I think because of all the things I've been through, I realize there's a process and there's a timing in the way different organizations do things. Would I like to know either way? Yes, of course I would like to know. But whatever happens, I'm going to be fine. I think this year, as difficult as it was, I thought it went well on my end. I tried to do everything I can to make things work out.''

WHAT'S UP:  The Red Sox have lost their last two, but are 6-5 in their last 11, 10-9 in their last 19 and 16-18 in their last 34...The Sox are 4-20 against the Braves, Rays, and Yankees and 18-16 vs. all other teams...They're also 0-4 in extra-inning games this season....Jackie Bradley Jr. has a .409 OBP in September, the third best figure in the A.L. for the month, trailing only Cleveland's Jose Ramirez (.448) and LA's Mike Trout (.438)....In  six of their last eight games, Sox starters have thrown at least five innings and allowed either one or no runs....In their last eight games, Sox starters are 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA while allowing opposing hitters a .226 batting average...Over their last 19 games, Red Sox starters have posted a 3.33 ERA and held opponents to a .246 average...Rookie RHP Tanner Houck has yet to allow an earned run in the majors over 11 innings and two starts, giving up just one unearned run....He's allowed only three hits in 33 at-bats (.091 AVG)...The only other Red Sox pitchers to throw at least 5.0 innings and allow 0 ER in each of their first two MLB starts are Vaughn Eshelman (1995) and Dave "Boo'' Ferriss (1945)....He's also one of just eight pitchers in MLB history  to allow two hits or fewer in at least 5.0 innings in consecutive appearances to begin his career...No pitcher has done so in three consecutive starts to begin a career...Bobby Dalbec has reached base safely in 14 of his last 16 games...Christian Arroyo is hitless in his last eight at-bats...Xander Bogaerts has an eight-game hitting streak...J.D. Martinez has his in six consecutive games...Alex Verdugo is without a hit in his last 11 at-bats.