Boston Red Sox (22-36, fifth in the AL East) vs. Atlanta Braves (35-23, first in the NL East)Atlanta; Saturday, 7:10 p.m. EDTPITCHING PROBABLES: Boston: Tanner Houck (2-0, .00 ERA) Atlanta: Tucker Davidson (0-0, 0.00 ERA)LINE: Braves favoured by 1 1/2 runs; over/under is 10 runsBOTTOM LINE: Atlanta and Boston will face off on Saturday.The Braves are 19-9 in home games. Atlanta has slugged .488, the highest in the National League. Freddie Freeman leads the team with a .644 slugging percentage, including 36 extra-base hits and 13 home runs.The Red Sox are 11-16 in road games. Boston leads the American League in hitting with a .264 batting average, Alex Verdugo leads the team with an average of .315.TOP PERFORMERS: Marcell Ozuna leads the Braves with 55 RBIs and is batting .330.Rafael Devers leads the Red Sox with 11 home runs and is batting .271.INJURIES: Braves: Jeremy Walker: (shoulder), Mike Soroka: (achilles), Phil Pfeifer: (elbow), Tommy Milone: (left elbow), Max Fried: (ankle).Red Sox: Andrew Triggs: (nerve irritation), Josh Taylor: (shoulder), Chris Sale: (elbow), Eduardo Rodriguez: (heart), Kyle Hart: (hip), Zack Godley: (elbow), Colten Brewer: (finger), Andrew Benintendi: (rib), Dustin Pedroia: (knee), Yairo Munoz: (back).___The Associated Press created this story using technology provided by Data Skrive and data from Sportradar.The Associated Press
Dodgers star Mookie Betts supplanted Yankees slugger Aaron Judge on Friday for baseball's top-selling jersey in his first year on the West Coast. Judge's pinstriped No. 99 had been the most popular uniform in the majors for three straight years, but he's been bumped by his former AL East rival, according to data released by Major League Baseball. Betts was traded from the Boston Red Sox to the Dodgers in February, and Los Angeles signed the 2018 AL MVP to a $365 million, 12-year deal that runs through the 2032 season.
ATLANTA — Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer to lead off the 11th inning and the Atlanta Braves beat the Boston Red Sox 8-7 on Friday night to clinch the No. 2 seed in the National League playoffs.Freeman's homer off Jeffrey Springs (0-2) drove in Ender Inciarte, who started the inning on second base, and bolstered the Braves slugger's case for the NL MVP Award.“He absolutely should,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said about Freeman winning MVP. “The guy is having an unbelievable year. ... He checks all the boxes.”Snitker said Marcell Ozuna, who had three hits and drove in two runs, also deserves consideration.Freeman was given a rare day off from starting before walking as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. He said he was looking for a fastball from Springs in the 11th and was ready when it came. After a rain-delayed game against Miami on Thursday night, Freeman prevented the Braves from playing deep into another evening.“I was just trying to send everyone home,” Freeman said.The Red Sox are 0-4 against Atlanta this season, including a three-game sweep in Boston.“They battled great,” Red Sox manager Roenicke said. “Get behind, they come back, kept doing it, so offence, I thought we did a great job. We just didn’t pitch as well in the late innings when we got the lead. Everything else I thought was good. It’s a shame to lose a game.”Alex Verdugo's sacrifice fly off Shane Greene (1-0) drove in Rafael Devers in the top of the 11th, giving Boston a 7-6 lead.Kevin Plawecki had three hits, including a tiebreaking single in Boston's two-run 10th. The Braves answered with two runs off Springs, including Dansby Swanson's two-out, run-scoring double to right field that tied it.Ronald Acuña Jr. hit the longest homer in the majors this season — 495 feet to the top of the left-field seats — to lead off the game. It was the longest homer at Truist Park, which opened in 2017. Acuña admired his blast before flipping his bat and starting his run around the bases.After Ozuna's bases-loaded single in the eighth drove in two runs to give Atlanta a 4-2 lead, the Red Sox pulled even. Two runs scored when Adeiny Hechavarria fielded Rafael Devers' bases-loaded grounder off Mark Melancon, slipped and threw the ball into the Braves dugout for an error. It was Hechavarria's third error in two games.Devers' pinch-hit, bases-loaded groundout in the seventh gave Boston a 2-1 lead.PLAYOFF READYKyle Wright gave up two hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings in his final warmup for his spot in Atlanta’s post-season rotation. Wright issued three consecutive walks in the seventh before Devers’ pinch-hit groundout drove in Jackie Bradley Jr. from third base.Wright retired the first 12 batters he faced. Bradley homered leading off the fifth, a 447-foot blast to centre that tied the game.JUST A FANFreeman watched the start of the game from the stands and was impressed by Acuña's homer. He said it's the longest homer he has seen. Freeman said his first thought was, “Did that almost clear the whole stands?”TRAINER’S ROOMRed Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodríguez, who has been restricted from baseball activities since July 23 after coronavirus follow-up tests showed he has myocarditis, a heart issue, has been cleared to begin physical activity. Roenicke says Rodríguez can start walking on a treadmill soon with hopes he can begin building up for the 2021 season. Rodríguez tested positive for the coronavirus before the start of summer camp. ... RHP Domingo Tapia was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right biceps contusion, ending his season. He was hit in the arm by a line drive in Thursday night’s game against Baltimore. RHP Austin Brice (strained lat) was activated from the 10-day IL.Braves: Austin Riley started at first base after missing two days to rest a quadriceps injury.UP NEXTRed Sox: Rookie RHP Tanner Houck (2-0, 0.00), who takes the mound Saturday night, has allowed three hits and no earned runs over 11 innings in his first two starts.Braves: LHP Tucker Davidson was recalled from the team's alternate training site after the game and will make his major league debut. Huascar Ynoa was optioned to clear a spot for Davidson, who was 7-6 with a 2.03 ERA at Double-A Mississippi in 2019.___More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsThe Associated Press