ATLANTA (AP) — Ian Kinsler describes Boston’s lineup as “electric.”
Now that he’s back on track following his return from a hamstring injury, Kinsler is showing he can add even more spark to the lineup.
Kinsler drove in three runs and the Red Sox continued their interleague success, beating the Atlanta Braves 8-2 Monday in a matchup of division leaders.
Kinsler came off the disabled list on Aug. 17 after missing 11 games with the injury. He was hitting well before the injury and now has regained momentum with two or more hits in four of his last seven games.
Asked if it was difficult to find his timing again, Kinsler said “I want to say no because I don’t want to make any excuses. … In a player’s head, you think it should happen quickly in a day or two.”
The Red Sox led only 3-2 through seven innings before putting the game away.
“We can score a lot of runs early, score a lot of runs late,” Kinsler said. “That’s the great thing about this team. It can happen at any moment. The thing about this offense is it’s electric and it can happen quickly.”
The Red Sox have won 23 of their last 27 games against National League teams. Boston has the best record in the majors and is atop the AL East.
Kinsler hit a two-out, two-run single in the eighth after a throwing error by first baseman Freddie Freeman prolonged the inning, making it 5-2. Xander Bogaerts hit a two-run single as Boston scored three times in the ninth off Bryse Wilson.
“The two-out error hurt, obviously, but I liked our chances before that,” said Braves manager Brian Snitker.
Boston scored three runs in the fifth off Braves rookie Touki Toussaint, making only his second start in the majors.
Consecutive doubles by Eduardo Nunez, Kinsler, and Christian Vazquez off Toussaint (1-1) in the fifth gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.
Mookie Betts added an RBI single with two outs to finish Toussaint.
Boston right-hander Nate Eovaldi started only two days after his last start against the White Sox was shortened by rain to two innings.
“It was definitely different,” Eovaldi said. “I needed to step up and try to go as deep as I could in the ballgame. Unfortunately, it was only into the fourth inning.”
Eovaldi issued four walks, including three in the first, but did not allow a run in 3 1/3 innings. His previous season high for walks in a game was two.
Brandon Workman (3-0) recorded two outs after replacing Eovaldi in the fourth.
Ozzie Albies led off the sixth with his 22nd homer against Joe Kelly.
A sellout crowd of 40,394 included a strong turnout by Red Sox fans.
Red Sox: 3B Rafael Devers (strained left hamstring) will join the team on Tuesday, a day after completing his rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket.
Manager Alex Cora said LHP David Price (bruised left wrist) believes he could start against the Braves on Wednesday.
But the Red Sox will avoid having Price swing a bat. Price instead may start in Friday’s opening game of a home series against Houston. Cora said he had not decided on Wednesday’s starter.
Braves: RHPs Arodys Vizcaino and Jose Ramirez, each recovering from right shoulder inflammation, threw back-to-back scoreless innings in rehab stints with Triple-A Gwinnett.
The NL East-leading Braves loaded the bases in the first, fourth and seventh innings. Kurt Suzuki’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the seventh produced the only run from those chances as Atlanta was 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
INF Brandon Phillips, who had a successful Atlanta homecoming with the Braves in 2017, when he hit .291, will return again on Tuesday when he will be recalled from Pawtucket by the Red Sox.
Phillips attended Redan High School in Stone Mountain, Georgia, in the metro Atlanta area.
Phillips, 37, hit .302 in 38 games with Pawtucket.
Nick Markakis made two strong defensive plays in right field, catching a foul ball hit by J.D. Martinez against the wall in the fifth and making a sliding catch of Betts’ sinking liner in the right-center gap in the ninth.
Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (15-7, 4.27) is 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA in three career starts against Atlanta.
He has a 20-8 record in 39 career interleague game.
Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (11-7, 3.85) will try to reverse his downturn after posting an 8.48 ERA in his last four starts. He allowed six runs in four innings in a loss to the Rays in his last start.