Duvall follows Ozuna with 3 HRs; Braves complete sweep

Sports

Boston Red Sox pitcher Mike Kickham (74) watches as Atlanta Braves’ Adam Duvall, center, rounds the bases on Duvall’s two-run home run during the second inning of a baseball game, Wednesday Sept. 2, 2020, in Boston. At left is Braves Austin Riley. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BOSTON (AP) — Adam Duvall hit three home runs a night after teammate Marcell Ozuna did it, making them the first teammates in major league history to perform the feat in consecutive games as the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves beat the stumbling Boston Red Sox 7-5 Wednesday night for a three-game sweep.

Duvall hit a pair of two-run shots over the Green Monster and a solo blast to center for his five RBIs. Ozuna added a long, tiebreaking solo drive for the Braves, who entered the three-game set winless in their last 15 series (0-12-3) against the Red Sox.

Duvall and Ozuna were the first teammates with three-homer performances in back-to-back games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“I didn’t know that,” Duvall said when he was informed of the historic feat during his postgame interview. “I thought it was (three homers) here. That’s pretty neat. That’s pretty cool.”

On Tuesday, Ozuna became the first NL player to hit three homers in a game at Fenway Park.

“We just met up in here and talked about what we just did,” Duvall said. “It’s super cool. It’s something definitely to take a moment and enjoy it.”

It was Atlanta’s first sweep in Boston since capturing a three-game set in 2002. Freddie Freeman had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 16 games.

“When the big boys get hot, that’s what happens,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a solo homer and J.D. Martinez had two hits and two RBIs for the Red Sox, who fell a season-high 13 games under .500.

Fenway was built in 1912, but the Red Sox are an AL club and interleague play wasn’t introduced in MLB until 1997.

Ozuna’s drive also cleared the Monster, sailing over a billboard and completely out of Fenway against Andrew Triggs (0-2) in the seventh. Duvall’s third homer hit off a back wall near the bleachers after his second homer had tied it at 5 against Triggs an inning earlier.

“Unfortunately that we’re getting to witness it,” Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said. “They swing the bat. They’re on the first fastball you throw them, and they don’t get cheated. So they’re doing a good job of preparing for what we’ve got, and when we make a mistake they don’t miss it.”

Tyler Matzek (3-2) got four outs in relief for the victory. Mark Melancon struck out the side in the ninth for his eighth save in nine chances.

The Braves tied it at 3 in the second when Duvall hit his first homer, and Ozuna added an RBI single.

Bradley’s pushed the Red Sox ahead 4-3 in the fourth. Martinez’s RBI single made it 5-3.

Making just his fourth career start, Braves lefty Robbie Erlin was tagged for five runs and six hits in four-plus innings.

WHO’S NEXT?

RHP Robinson Leyer became the 12th different pitcher to start for the Red Sox in just their 37th game. He was the “opener” and fanned two in a scoreless inning.

The 27-year-old Leyer made 236 minor league appearances over four organizations before he made his MLB debut Monday, allowing a run with a strikeout.

NICE GRAB

Braves 2B Johan Camargo made a nice over-the-shoulder, running catch on Martinez’s pop well beyond the infield dirt.

POSITIVE THOUGHTS

Roenicke was asked before the game how he handles all the losing this season.

“I think the easy way to do this, is to focus to try and get people better,” he said. “As long as I’m able to focus on that, the wins and losses don’t get to me too much.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: OF Ronald Acuña Jr. was out of the lineup for the third straight game after tightness in his right hamstring forced him out of Sunday’s victory. “He’s good. He had a good workout (Tuesday),” Snitker said. “With the off day tomorrow, we just decided to get him the whole series.” … Snitker said 2B Ozzie Albies (right wrist inflammation) could hit some live pitching at the club’s alternate training site “in a couple of days.”

Red Sox: DH/OF Martinez returned to the lineup and played left field. He missed the last two games after getting hit on the left hand by a fastball. … Roenicke said RHP Nathan Eovaldi (calf tightness) played catch and will throw a bullpen Thursday, but probably not start Saturday when he’s eligible to come off the IL. “Maybe push him back a day or so,” Roenicke said. … Placed LHP Kyle Hart on the 10-day injured list with a left hip impingement.

UP NEXT

Braves: Off Thursday.

Red Sox: Open a five-game series against the Blue Jays in Fenway Thursday. LHP Martín Pérez (2-4, 4.58 ERA) is slated to go for Boston against RHP Taijuan Walker (3-2, 3.27).

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