Red Sox defeat Braves, snap 10-game losing streak

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It didn’t look very promising early on, but the Red Sox snapped their 10-game losing streak with an 8-6 victory over the Braves this afternoon at Turner Field in Atlanta.

Clay Buchholz put the Red Sox in an early hole by allowing six runs on four hits and a career-high eight walks over three innings before being pulled. With a 7.02 ERA through 10 starts, he continues to be a complete mess. While Ervin Santana was handed an early 6-1 advantage by Buchholz and the Braves’ offense, the Red Sox came storming back in the fifth inning with a two-run double from Dustin Pedroia and a game-tying three-run home run from David Ortiz.

After a rain delay of one hour and 26 minutes, Ortiz delivered a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the seventh inning and A.J. Pierzynski followed with an RBI single to provide some insurance. The bullpen was huge for Boston today, as Burke Badenhop, Chris Capuano, Edward Mujica, Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Miller, and Koji Uehara combined for six scoreless innings to lock down the victory.

The win was Boston’s first since way back on May 14. The defending World Series champions now stand at 21-29 on the year, 7 1/2 games back of the first-place Blue Jays in the American League East.

HBT Daily: What’s wrong with the Red Sox?

Angels fire GM Billy Eppler after 5 straight losing seasons

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Los Angeles Angels fired general manager Billy Eppler on Sunday after the long-struggling franchise finished its fifth consecutive losing season under his watch.

Eppler was under contract for one more year with the Angels in an extension he signed in July with no public announcement, but team president John Carpino said the franchise will seek new baseball leadership after missing the playoffs for the sixth straight year.

The Angels have endured a historically bad half-decade during Eppler’s tenure despite many positive moves made by the former New York Yankees executive, all while dealing with the spending whims of owner Arte Moreno.

But Eppler was dismissed when the Angels couldn’t even make the eight-team AL playoff field this month. Los Angeles finished 26-34 in the pandemic-shortened season with a star-studded roster including three-time AL MVP Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani playing for manager Joe Maddon.

Eppler’s teams went 332-376 (.469) under three managers with a rotating cast of supporting players around Trout and Pujols.

Eppler didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

The 45-year-old Eppler took the fall for a decade of mostly miserable baseball under Moreno, whose penchant for handing out big-money contracts to older veteran players has repeatedly hurt his club since its last playoff victory in 2009.

Eppler began each of his seasons working around the 10-year, $240 million deal given by Moreno to Pujols, whose performance hasn’t come close to justifying the huge chunk of payroll taken up by the 40-year-old superstar for many years. Moreno also interfered in other areas, such as firing Eppler’s hand-picked manager, Brad Ausmus, after one season and installing Maddon last fall.

Eppler rebuilt a farm system that was left barren by former GM Jerry Dipoto, and he both signed Trout to a massive contract extension and persuaded Ohtani to bring his two-way talents to the Angels. Eppler’s farm system is finally bearing fruit recently, with blue-chip prospect Jo Adell, slugger Jared Walsh and infielder David Fletcher making impacts on the Angels this season with other prospects on the way.

Yet Eppler never managed to sign enough quality pitchers to prevent Trout’s Angels from being a perennial also-ran. Eppler repeatedly guessed wrong in his acquisitions from Tim Lincecum and Trevor Cahill to Matt Harvey and Julio Teheran, leaving the Angels with one of the majors’ worst starting rotations for much of his tenure.

The Angels still haven’t won a playoff game with Trout, who will turn 30 years old next August. The Halos finished the season by losing 5-0 to the crosstown Dodgers, who have won eight straight NL West titles.

Moreno doesn’t plan to discuss his latest franchise reboot publicly until Wednesday.