BOSTON -- While Freddie Freeman's home run leading off the eighth inning gave the Braves their third run in a 9-4 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Wednesday night, it also provided a bit of a reprieve for the team.
The home run snapped a streak of 15 games without a home run, going back to April 10 against the Cardinals. It was the longest stretch without a home run in team history since the Boston Braves were homerless in 16 games from Sept. 3-16, 1946. It was the longest by the Atlanta Braves since a 14-game drought in '70. Three home runs in the first 20 games were the fewest for the Braves in that span to start a season since the '31 team also had three, and it was the longest stretch by any team without a home run since the '91 Cardinals went homerless in 18 games.
Freeman's blast, a no-doubter into the bleachers behind the Red Sox's bullpen in right-center field, was his second of the season. It came on a 1-1 89-mph fastball from left-hander Tommy Layne. And though it had little to do with the outcome of the game, Freeman and the Braves hope it can do more in the bigger scheme.
"Get the monkey off the back," Freeman said. "Hopefully, getting that one out of the way, we'll start hitting a few more, especially when they need to count with guys on base and in scoring position."
Freeman went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a double in addition to the home run. He has hit a double in four of his past five games at Fenway and has reached safely in seven of his eight career games here, going 9-for-32 (.281). The home run was just the fifth Layne has allowed in his career and the first by a left-handed batter since giving one up to Chase Utley on June 24, 2103, a span of 98 games and 144 at-bats.
"It's really hard to put into words," Freeman said of the Braves' tough start. "Lose the first nine, then you win four and then lose eight in a row. It's just kind of a weird start to our season. It's a start we didn't want, but we just got to start playing better baseball, going out and hopefully starting winning some games. It's not fun right now."
Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.