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By CHARLES ODUM AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — Making the most of his first start in more than two weeks, Orlando Arcia hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Atlanta Braves a 5-3 win over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night.
Arcia lined his first homer of the season over the left-field wall off Ryan Brasier with one out in the ninth for his third hit of the game. The home run drove in Ozzie Albies, who led off with a single.
Arcia started at designated hitter. His last at-bat, as a pinch-hitter, came on May 3 and his last start came on April 24. He said he didn’t know he was starting before arriving at Truist Park.
“For me it’s the same either way,” Arcia said through a translator, adding his goal is “coming to the ballpark with the same energy.”
The opening for Arcia was created in part by the decision to hold out right fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. due to soreness in his groin.
Arcia had two singles in three at-bats before his game-ending homer.
“I’m going to sleep like a baby tonight,” Arcia said.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora and catcher Kevin Plawecki were ejected by plate umpire Adam Beck after he called strike three on Plawecki with the bases loaded to end the top of the sixth with the score tied at 3. The full-count pitch from Collin McHugh appeared to be low.
Plawecki slammed his helmet to the ground while arguing the call and was quickly ejected by Beck. Cora charged from the dugout and took up the spirited dispute, pointing to the plate and continuing his animated argument after also being tossed.
Christian Vázquez replaced Plawecki behind the plate.
Albies ended an 0-for-10 slump by leading off the ninth with a single against Brasier (0-1). The homer from Arcia was a surprise. He hit only two in a combined 81 at-bats with Milwaukee and Atlanta in 2021.
“It’s great because he hasn’t been playing a lot,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He hasn’t lost his enthusiasm. He’s been working.”
The Braves rallied from a 3-0 deficit.
Kenley Jansen (1-0) struck out two and walked one in a scoreless ninth.
After matching its season high for runs in Tuesday night’s 9-4 win, Boston had early success against Ian Anderson, who allowed three runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Trevor Story’s two-run homer in the second drove in Alex Verdugo, who doubled with one out. It was Story’s first homer with Boston.
The Red Sox pushed their lead to 3-0 in the third when Rafael Devers doubled and scored on a single by J.D. Martinez. Devers hit his first career grand slam on Tuesday night.
The Braves tied the game in the third. Following a single by Arcia for Atlanta’s first hit off Nathan Eovaldi, Travis Demeritte pulled a fastball over the left-field wall for a two-run homer. Dansby Swanson walked, stole second and scored on Matt Olson’s double off the center-field wall.
Eovaldi allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings. He had six strikeouts with one walk.
With the split of the two-game series, the Red Sox were denied their first series win since April 11-13, when they took two of three from Detroit. They ended a streak of six consecutive series losses.
The Braves hope Acuña will feel better following an off day Thursday. Acuña felt the discomfort during Tuesday night’s game. “He woke up and it wasn’t any better,” Snitker said. Acuña has made a successful return from surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He has hit .282 with two homers and five stolen bases in his first 10 games. … Backup C Manny Piña will have season-ending surgery after tests revealed ligament and cartilage damage in his left wrist. Piña, 34, was placed on the 10-day injured list April 28 with inflammation in the wrist. Piña, who signed an $8 million, two-year contract before the season, is expected to return for spring training next year.
Red Sox: Boston is off Thursday before continuing its five-game trip at Texas on Friday night. The team had not announced its starting pitchers while awaiting an update on LHP Rich Hill, who could return from the COVID-19 injured list.
Braves: Following an off day, LHP Max Fried (4-2, 2.68 ERA) is scheduled to start in Friday night’s opener of a three-game series against San Diego. Fried is 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA in two career starts against the Padres.
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