Update: The Braves have announced that Freddie Freeman exited the game with a right wrist sprain. He is listed as day-to-day.
After the pitching staff was beaten up considerably on Tuesday in Boston, the Atlanta Braves well represented in that area by Alex Wood and the bullpen during Wednesday's contest. With that effective run prevention and a timely rally in the seventh inning, the Braves claimed control of the series with a 5-2 over the Red Sox.
The aforementioned Alex Wood was not spotless on this night, but he was generally effective. Wood navigated six innings while allowing just two runs (one earned) and the left-hander struck out seven while walking only two. His chief mistake was a spinning change-up that was deposited over the wall by Mike Napoli in the sixth, but the only other damage took place in the fourth following some highly questionable defensive execution.
Still, Wood exited the game in a 2-2 tie after six innings, and the offense didn't fully awaken until he was removed. Cameron Maybin began the game's biggest rally with an infield "single" (with the help of a dropped throw by Napoli) against Junichi Tazawa, and he advanced to third base after Daniel Castro (making his MLB debut) put together a textbook hit-and-run single through the hole on the right side.
That set the stage for a Nick Markakis single to reclaim the lead, and following a walk to Juan Uribe and a fielder's choice at the plate from Kelly Johnson, the Red Sox went deeper into their bullpen. Left-hander Tommy Layne issued a free pass to A.J. Pierzynski with the bases load, and the Braves were safe with a 4-2 lead after seven.
From there, it was cruise-control to a victory that included an insurance run in the eighth and a close-out from Nick Masset, Jim Johnson and Jason Grilli, but unfortunately, there is a bit of stigma attached to this win. Freddie Freeman exited the game prior to the seventh inning, and while details are unknown at the time of this post, it is certainly uncharacteristic that he would be removed in the midst of a tight game.
Still, there is plenty to focus on in a more positive light. Pedro Ciriaco had a tremendous game, going 3-for-4 with 2 RBI, Uribe and Markakis each reached base multiple times while producing runs, and on a night when Wood did the lion's share of the work, the bullpen was (gasp) effective in slamming the door with three scoreless frames.
While it is certainly reasonable to hold your breath regarding the status of Freeman, this was an aesthetically pleasing win for the Atlanta Braves in their home park. The series finale is set for Thursday night at Turner Field, but provided the team can avoid unfortunate news on Freeman, this was a positive evening at the office.