ATLANTA -- David Price matched a career-high 14 strikeouts and tossed eight strong innings with the benefit of the early lead Travis Shaw provided when he highlighted a five-RBI game with a three-run, first-inning homer in the Red Sox's 11-4 win over the Braves at Turner Field on Tuesday night.
Price struck out each of the final five batters he faced and recorded eight of his final nine outs via strikeout. The former American League Cy Young Award winner surrendered three consecutive singles and issued a walk with two outs in the first inning before escaping a bases-loaded threat by striking out Drew Stubbs.
"That's as crisp and as sharp as we've seen David this year," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He was powerful. He had a full assortment of pitches, and when he's had that two-seam fastball running back to catch the inside corner against some right-handers, his delivery is locked in. We staked him to an early lead, and he was outstanding tonight."
Matt Wisler was not nearly as successful during the five-inning effort he provided the Braves, who have lost 16 of their first 20 games for the first time since 1988. Wisler settled down after enduring a four-run first inning, but the early damage proved too significant to overcome against Price.
"I needed it," said Price. "To go out there and to throw the baseball the way I'm capable of throwing it. Everybody needs that."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Price gives bullpen some rest: The most important part of Tuesday's performance by Price is that he gave the bullpen almost an entire night off by going eight innings. The Red Sox have asked a lot out of their relievers of late, and they're in the midst of a stretch of playing 32 games in 33 days. Price's best performance thus far in his short time with the Red Sox immediately followed a clunker last week at home against the Rays, when he was touched up for eight hits and eight runs over 3 2/3 innings.
"I don't care about strikeouts, man, that doesn't mean anything to me," said Price. "I want to go out there and pitch as deep as I can into baseball games. I want to get 27 outs every five days. Twenty-four is good." More >
Still developing: Wisler was nowhere near as sharp as he had been when he limited the Dodgers to one unearned run while throwing a career-high 115 pitches over 6 2/3 innings on Thursday. But after enduring the 38-pitch first inning, which included Shaw's homer and Brock Holt's RBI double, the young right-hander totaled 28 pitches over his next three innings. Dustin Pedroia drilled a leadoff double and scored on a wild pitch during Wisler's fifth and final inning.
"In the first inning, I got behind guys, and when I looked at the 2-1 pitch to Shaw, it actually wasn't that bad of a pitch," Wisler said. "Just in that situation, I've got to get beat [with Shaw hitting it the other way]. You can't let a lefty like that just get a pitch to pull."
Shaw provides early liftoff: Thanks to a big swing by Shaw for a three-run shot to right in the first, Price pitched with a lead for the entirety of his start. Shaw's homer was a rocket, leaving the bat at 109 mph and landing a projected 418 feet away, according to Statcast™.
"Felt good," said Shaw. "They were pounding me in. That was something I worked on a lot today, especially in the cage, so felt good to kind of take what I worked on earlier today into that game, especially with that first swing." More >
Frenchy extends tear against lefties:Jeff Francoeur began his two-hit game when he drove in a first-inning run with the third of three consecutive one-out singles surrendered by Price. Francoeur opened the fourth inning with another single and scored on the sacrifice fly Wisler drove to right field with the bases loaded. The Braves' left fielder went 8-for-12 against left-handed pitchers (Alex Wood, Clayton Kershaw, Steven Matz and Price) during this homestand.
"This is the big leagues, this is what you dream of. To get that first one out of the way, it's like, 'OK, maybe I do belong here.'" -- Pat Light, who recorded the final three outs for the Red Sox in his Major League debut
When I look back at the four starts I've had, I've had 20 innings, and three of those innings have cost me 10 runs. The next step forward is eliminating those innings." -- Wisler
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With the win, the Red Sox finished with a 20-13 record at Turner Field, going 12-3 in their last 15 games there. The Braves are moving into a new ballpark in 2017.
The Braves have matched their franchise low through the season's first 20 games since at least 1913. The only other clubs to begin 4-16 were the 1914 club, which won the World Series, and the 1988 team, which lost 106 games. More >
BRAVES RECOGNIZE PAPI
With David Ortiz at Turner Field for the final time on Tuesday night, the Braves recognized him with a video tribute that played before the top of the second inning. As the video concluded, the fans -- many of them Boston transplants -- applauded. Ortiz, who didn't start either of the two games here, came out of the dugout and tipped his cap. As the top of the ninth inning started, fans chanted "We want Papi." But with the Red Sox holding a commanding lead, Farrell had Chris Young hit for Price instead of Ortiz.
Second baseman Daniel Castro continued to dazzle with the glove in the fourth inning, when he raced into shallow right field to rob Mookie Betts and begin a double play. Castro extended his left arm and then watched the ball bounce off his glove into his bare right hand as he slid across the outfield grass on his backside. Castro then threw to first base to retire Price, who had run toward second base. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Red Sox: Knuckleballer Steven Wright looks to continue his strong start to the season when he pitches Wednesday's 7:10 p.m. ET game at Fenway Park against the Braves. Wright is 3-for-3 in quality starts. This will kick off a five-game homestand for the Red Sox.
Braves:Bud Norris will take the mound when this Interleague series shifts to Boston on Wednesday. Adonis Garcia is expected to serve as the Braves' designated hitter during the two-game set at Fenway Park. Castro, Jace Peterson or Kelly Johnson will likely man third base.