The Boston Red Sox have dug themselves quite a hole.
Coming off three straight losses at Yankee Stadium, including a stunning extra-inning defeat on Thursday, the Red Sox will try to regroup when they travel to Atlanta for the opener of a three-game interleague series with the suddenly surging Braves.
The Red Sox, who were done in the first two games against the Yankees by poor defense and pitching, fought back from a three-run deficit Thursday to tie the game in the seventh inning.
Manny Ramirez eventually put Boston ahead 4-3 in the 13th with a long solo home run, but the Yankees, down to their final out, put a single and two extra-base hits in the books and walked away with a 5-4 win.
The Red Sox have lost eight of 11 and are now a season-high 8 1/2 games behind the first-place Yankees in the AL East. At least a few of the Red Sox are wondering aloud if they can turn things around.
“We have to,” right-hander Curt Schilling said. “We don’t really have a choice. We can quit and go home or figure out how to do that. Having been said multiple times already, the amount of talent on this team, there’s no excuse for us to be where we’re at.
“Everybody goes through funks. But more talented teams get out of it quicker. We’ve got to figure out something. Somebody, somewhere has to figure it out to turn it around.”
Boston was without shortstop Nomar Garciaparra on Thursday, who got the day off to rest his Achillies’ heel.
“He’s tight back there,” manager Terry Francona said. “It was a tough day for him.”
Overall, Garciaparra is batting .235 with one home run and nine RBIs in 17 games since coming off the disabled list June 9.
Garciaparra went into the clubhouse in the ninth inning, and was doing stretches to try and loosen the muscle.
“I just didn’t get in,” Garciaparra said. “There was a time I might get a chance, but it didn’t happen.”
The Braves come in after taking three out of four from the defending World Series champion Florida Marlins, including a 9-1 victory on Thursday.
Atlanta has won six of eight overall to keep pressure on NL East-leading Philadelphia and second-place Florida.