But more than a half-century after the Braves moved out of Boston, John Smoltz and Chipper Jones, twin pillars of the Atlanta franchise, confidently claimed Game 2, 14-0, on a clammy Saturday night at Fenway Park.
It was the Red Sox's worst shutout loss in almost 17 years, dating back to a 16-0 loss to the Twins on May 25, 1990. Boston hadn't allowed as many runs since July 1, 2005, against Toronto.
Braves second baseman Kelly Johnson drove in five of the Braves' 14 runs. He walked to the plate in the ninth inning just a single short of Atlanta's first cycle since Albert Hall in 1987, but Johnson hit a flare that was caught by Wily Mo Pena in right field.
Jones got the Braves going in the right direction early, hammering a 2-0 outside fastball from Red Sox starter Devern Hansack over the deep end of the Green Monster in left-center. The Braves cruised from there, spraying 11 more extra-base hits around Fenway, breaking an Atlanta record with 12 in all.
All told, Atlanta racked up 12 runs and 18 hits against Hansack and a collection of relievers, including Joel Pineiro and Javier Lopez.
Hansack left the game after four innings with a contusion on his right hand. A hot shot from Atlanta shortstop Edgar Renteria, which ricocheted to second base for a catch-and-throw out, did the damage. Until then, Hansack was ineffective, yielding six hits and four runs, three of them earned, over four innings.
X-rays taken at Fenway revealed a slight bruise.
"He elevated some fastballs early and let some big, strong hitters extend their arms," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "And [he] paid the price for it."
Hansack's stay with the big-league club was a short one. After getting promoted earlier in the day, Hansack was informed that he would be heading back to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for Kason Gabbard, who will start Sunday's series finale.
Boston left-hander J.C. Romero pitched a scoreless eighth after a sustained four-inning onslaught of Atlanta's offense made it 11-0. The Braves added another three runs off Brendan Donnelly in the ninth, two on Atlanta catcher Brian McCann's third double.
In the end, the game belonged to Smoltz, a steady presence through seven sloppy innings. Heavy rains bore down between the fifth and seventh, but Smoltz remained in control, throwing a hard fastball for strikes and mixing in a diving slider. It was his first start since dislocating his right pinky finger in a start on Monday.
"I [would] hate to see him with all his fingers," Francona said.
Smoltz limited the Red Sox to three hits in seven shutout innings, earning his sixth win.
"Give him credit," said Boston's Eric Hinske, who started at first, "and we'll just go on to tomorrow."
"You know, [we can] win the series tomorrow," Hinske added. "That's the way you've got to look at it. We can win two out of three tomorrow, and that's what we're going to try to do."
Alex McPhillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.