BOSTON (AP) — The pitching and defense that carried Atlanta through seven solid innings unraveled in the eighth and ninth.
A pair of errors in the eighth inning helped Boston tie it, then two walks to start the ninth and another error allowed the Red Sox to complete a 4-3 rally over Atlanta on Thursday night.
“It’s just unfortunate. I felt like we were making good pitches at the end and the balls were just dropping in,” said Mike Minor, who pitched seven strong innings for the Braves. “They’re a tough team.”
Closer Craig Kimbrel (0-1) walked Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt to start the ninth. Xander Bogaerts followed with a hard grounder to Chris Johnson at third base for an infield single. Johnson stopped it and made a strong throw but Tommy La Stella missed the catch with Holt bearing down.
Bradley scored and the Red Sox rushed out of the dugout as the ball trickled into right field.
The Braves lost their fourth straight and fifth in six games. The error was initially charged to Johnson, but the official scoring on the play was changed later and the error charged to La Stella.
The change mattered little to the Braves, who had no errors before taking a 3-1 lead into the eighth.
“It’s a tough way to lose, a tough one to swallow, really,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We didn’t handle the baseball the last two innings and it came back and bit us.”
Koji Uehara (1-1) got the win after eight solid innings by starter Jake Peavy for the Red Sox, who completed a four-game sweep in the home-and-home series with the Braves.
Minor pitched well, holding Boston to one run on seven hits in seven innings. Minor didn’t walk a batter and struck out three.
Jason Heyward homered and Freddie Freeman drove in a run and scored once for the Braves, who lost their fourth straight and fifth in six games.
Atlanta led 3-1 when Holt led off the eighth with a bloop single to left off reliever David Carpenter. He went to second when left fielder Justin Upton took his eye off the ball and it bounced past him. Bogaerts followed with an RBI single and Dustin Pedroia reached on a slow roller up the middle that was called a hit.
A.J. Pierzynski followed with another single to center that B.J. Upton let get by him for the second error of the inning, allowing Bogaerts to score and tie it at 3-all.
“It was a perfect ball to throw on initially,” B.J. Upton said. “It was going to take a nice long hop for me, which it did. The grass grabbed it and it kind of faded away from me.”
Atlanta had just gone up 3-1 with a run in the top of the eighth. B.J. Upton led off with a single to left and scored when Freeman followed with a double off the wall in left-center.
Heyward’s homer with two outs in the third gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead. The Braves added a run in the fourth when Freeman led off with a walk, advanced to second on a balk and scored on Evan Gattis’ single.
Boston cut the lead to 2-1 with a run in the fifth when David Ross doubled and scored on a two-out double by Holt.
Peavy allowed three runs on eight hits in eight innings. He struck out four and walked one.
NOTES: Boston returns to American League play Friday when Tampa Bay visits Friday with LHP David Price (4-4) facing Boston righty Brandon Workman (0-0). … Boston DH David Ortiz did not start because of a sore right calf, a move manager John Farrell called precautionary. Ortiz pinch hit in the eighth and drew an intentional walk with two outs. … Boston 1B Ryan Lavarnway left the game in the sixth with a sore left wrist. … … Atlanta SS Andrelton Simmons returned to the lineup missing Wednesday’s game with an inflamed right ankle