Braves' HR drought ends, losing streak doesn't in 9-4 loss

BOSTON (AP) — The power-starved Atlanta Braves finally hit one out. Now, they've just got to find a way to start winning some games again.

Atlanta ended a 15-game homerless stretch with Freddie Freeman's eighth-inning solo shot, but the Braves gave up a grand slam and a solo homer to Dustin Pedroia as the Boston Red Sox sent them to their eighth straight loss, 9-4 on Wednesday night.

It was the longest power outage for the franchise since the Boston Braves went 16 games without a homer in 1946.

"Yeah, get the monkey off our back," Freeman said. "Hopefully, getting that one out of the way, we'll start hitting a few more. Especially when they need to count, with guys on base and in scoring position."

The Red Sox won their fourth straight and third against the Braves (4-17), the first two coming at Turner Field.

"It's really hard to put into words. You lose the first nine, then win four, then lose eight in a row," Freeman said. "It's a weird start to our season. It's the start we didn't want. But we've just got to start playing better baseball and hopefully start winning some games. It's not fun right now."

Bud Norris (1-4) got just four outs, giving up six runs on seven hits.

David Ortiz passed two Hall of Fame Red Sox on the extra-base hits list and knuckleballer Steven Wright held the Braves to two runs — one earned — in seven innings.

"I thought we had a pretty good approach early in the game against Wright," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But I've never seen a knuckleball go sideways."

The 40-year-old Ortiz had three doubles and drove in two runs, giving him 1,119 extra-base hits to tie Hall of Famer George Brett for 16th on the career list. On the second double, he passed Boston greats Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx.

Wright (2-2) struck out eight with three walks.

The Red Sox jumped ahead 2-0 in the first against Norris. Ortiz had an RBI double and scored on Hanley Ramirez's single.

After the Braves scored a run in the top of the second, Boston broke it open on Pedroia's slam in the bottom half. After loading the bases with two singles and a walk, Pedroia hit a slicing fly ball that caromed high off the Pesky Pole, making it 6-1. His solo shot barely cleared the Green Monster in the eighth.

In the fourth, Ortiz hit his second RBI double and scored on Travis Shaw's stand-up triple.


Braves: Recalled RHP John Gant from Triple-A Gwinnett and optioned RHP Ryan Weber. Gant started and gave up two runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Red Sox: RHP Joe Kelly (15-day DL, right shoulder impingement) threw from 120 feet. ... Reliever Carson Smith, out since the start of the season with a strained right flexor muscle, is expected to work two games with Double-A Portland and could be activated next week.


It was just Atlanta's fourth homer this season.

Entering Wednesday, 60 players in the majors had more homers than the Braves' total, and 102 had at least three.


Catcher A.J. Pierzynski collected his 2,000th hit, a single in the second. He's the 10th player in history to reach the mark primarily playing catcher.

"Those numbers, if you look at some of those names at the catching position that has reached 2,000 hits, it's a pretty good company," Gonzalez said.


Braves: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (0-1, 3.18 ERA) is set to start Thursday night against Boston. He's allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his three starts.

Red Sox: RHP Clay Buchholz (0-2, 6.33) looks for his first win of the season. He was tagged for five runs in 5 2/3 innings in a loss at Houston on Saturday.