Tim Hudson had his first bad outing of the year, and the bats weren’t able to pick him up. The Sox got four runs in the first, highlighted by a bases-clearing, two-out triple from Varitek, and got single runs in the second and fifth, finally chasing Tim with two out in the inning. He finished with eight hits, two walks, and no strikeouts. He’s not the first good pitcher to blow up against this offense and he won’t be the last.
The bullpen did its part,in the person of McBride, Kali, and Soriano. The Braves had a chance to get right back into it in the sixth against the soft underbelly of the Red Sox bullpen. Diaz drove in Chipper with a single and Saltalamacchia, after an epic at-bat, drew a bases-loaded walk to cut it to 6-2. But Thorman grounded into a double play to end the inning; there was some criticism but it was a good play by the Sox.
Andruw is just awful right now. The Braves had another chance to tie it in the ninth, off of Papelbon (I’d given up hope and was already writing this recap). Francoeur singled in Renteria with two out, followed by a single from Diaz. Andruw came to the plate with a chance to tie with a homer or at least extend the game (with McCann on deck) but struck out. I think he may have Francoeur’s old brain or something. Up 2-1 he swung at a hanging curveball but about a second too late — it was practically in the catcher’s mitt — and struck out on a pitch at head level. He finished with the rare iridium sombrero, 0-5 with five strikeouts. You can’t really get any worse than that.
Diaz was 4-5 and is hitting .352, but didn’t score a run largely because of Andruw’s nightmare game. I hesitate to say this, but it wouldn’t necessarily be bad for the team if Andruw went on the DL and Harris played center. The Braves actually out-hit the Sox 13-8 but couldn’t get the one more hit to do it. Again, this really is Andruw’s fault.