The bad times marched on late Tuesday evening for the Red Sox.
So bad that Kaleb Ort, who was recalled from Triple A Worcester earlier in the day, replacing the injured Tanner Houck, was called on in extra innings of what ended up being a 9-7 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Fenway Park.
In a game that featured eight lead changes and four ties ultimately ended in what has become predictable fashion these days if you’re a Red Sox fan: a loss.
With the automatic runner on second in the 10th, Orlando Arcia put the Braves ahead, 7-6, with an RBI double off Ort. But the Sox tied it in the home half when J.D. Martinez delivered a sacrifice fly.
Yet with runners on second and third in the 11th, Austin Riley’s single off Ort brought in two runs. Riley, who had homered and tripled earlier, finished with five RBI.
The loss was the Sox’ fifth loss in six games and seventh in their last 11, as they remain in last place in the AL East.
Observations from the game:
▪ Early on, the Braves didn’t get cheated against Rich Hill, scoring three runs in the third, all of which came with two outs.
Dansby Swanson hit a two-out double and Riley, who tripled and scored off Hill in the first, tallied an eight-pitch at-bat — one that featured five foul balls — that ended in a no-doubt two-run shot that looked as if it reached the Mass. Pike.
A single and a William Contreras triple completed the frame where the Braves hit for the cycle. The Braves had no issue squaring up the lefthander that inning with four batted balls registering exit velocities of 101 miles per hour. Hill lasted just four innings.
“I made a bad pitch to Riley and it still hasn’t landed yet,” Hill said after the game. “It’s just frustrating. It’s really frustrating. We’re better than what we’re showing. I think we fought really hard tonight to come back and put ourselves in a good position but came up short.”
▪ Christian Arroyo belted a two-run homer in the second inning and an RBI double in the fourth, tying the game, 4-4. Tommy Pham hit a solo homer his first game at Fenway for the Red Sox in the third inning.
▪ The Sox could not put away hitters, going the first 5⅔ innings (28 batters) without registering a strikeout. Hirokazu Sawamura finally ended that streak, striking out Swanson to end the sixth. The Red Sox also yielded six two-out walks.
“I think that’s some of the issues,” Sox manager Alex Cora said. “I know some of the young [pitchers] are here but, also, I think we haven’t done a good job of putting guys away.”
▪ Martinez came into Tuesday’s game in a rough stretch. In his last 225 plate appearances, Martinez had a 24 percent strikeout rate. He added to that percentage Tuesday, fanning in his first three plate appearances against Braves starter Charlie Morton.
Morton, who allowed three homers, fed Martinez a heavy dose of pitches on the outer half, enticing the Sox designated hitter to chase in advantageous counts.
Martinez had a chance to punch in a run during the fourth inning with Alex Verdugo on second after his double, but waved at a 1-and-2 curveball in the dirt.
The Sox had first and second with one out in the seventh, but couldn’t get a run across. Pham flied out and Rafael Devers struck out to end the inning. Martinez got his only hit of the night but a crucial one with his RBI single in the eighth, tying the game, 6-6.
In the end, though, it wasn’t enough.
“We’re a better team than what we’re showing,” Hill reiterated. “We’re getting some guys back and you know, hopefully that will turn the ship around.”