Boston manager Alex Cora may have to keep shaving if his team keeps winning.
Cora shaved his beard, and the Red Sox responded by beating the Atlanta Braves 9-4 to end their five-game losing streak Tuesday night.
He could be clean-shaven again when the teams complete their two-game series on Wednesday night in Atlanta.
“I don’t think hitting or whatever is about shaving, but hey …” Cora said.
The win, sparked by Rafael Devers’ grand slam, ended Boston’s longest losing streak since July 29-Aug. 3, 2021. Boston is trying to win its first series since taking two of three from the Detroit Tigers on April 11-13.
The Red Sox have won five straight in Atlanta and improved to 16-9 against the Braves since the start of 2015.
A pair of right-handers will start in the series finale. Boston will send veteran Nathan Eovaldi (1-1, 2.94 ERA) against Atlanta’s Ian Anderson (3-1, 4.01).
Eovaldi allowed three runs in five innings in his last start on Friday against the Chicago White Sox. Eovaldi ranks among the American League leaders with 9.62 strikeouts per nine innings and 1.60 walks per nine innings. He issued three walks to the White Sox, the first time he’s given up more than two since June 9, 2021.
“I know there’s the stats the third time through the lineup how much better the batters are handling you,” Eovaldi said. “I think it helps that I have five pitches that I can keep circulating through and keep them off balance.”
He has made 14 career starts against the Braves, going 3-3 with a 2.71 ERA. He has not faced Atlanta since September 2018, when he pitched 3 1/3 innings and allowed no runs on two hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
Anderson has won three decisions in a row. In his most recent outing on May 4, he allowed only one run despite giving up five hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings to help the Braves earn a split of their four-game series at the New York Mets. Anderson has allowed seven runs (six earned) over 22 innings in his last four starts, a 2.45 ERA.
Anderson has made two career starts against the Red Sox, going 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA. He beat Boston on Sept. 1, 2020, by throwing six innings and allowing just two runs, striking out eight.
Atlanta continues to keep a close eye on Ronald Acuna Jr., who appeared to limp a bit when he rounded first base after a single in the fourth. The trainer worked on him between innings, and Acuna remained in right field. Acuna walked in the first inning and has reached base in a league-leading 24 straight games.
“They’re looking for every little nuance in him,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “They checked him out, and he obviously checked out OK. He said he felt good because they let him keep going.”
Snitker said Acuna will be checked again before the game on Wednesday. The Braves have the option of using Acuna as the designated hitter instead of in right field to ease the stress on his surgically repaired knee.
Boston’s J.D. Martinez picked up a hit in the ninth inning to go 1-for-5. He has a 12-game hitting streak and has reached base in a major-league-best 27 straight games dating to last season.
–Field Level Media