Game over, Red Sox win 6-3: That does it. Koji Uehara set down the Atlanta Braves in order to shore up the save and send the Boston Red Sox to their second consecutive win.
Jon Lester went six innings, giving up three runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts, to earn the win. Anthony Varvaro takes the loss for the Braves (28-22), as the Red Sox (22-29) sweep the two-game set in Atlanta.
Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in two runs and Dustin Pedroia went 3-for-4 to lead the Sox. B.J. Upton was 3-for-3 for Atlanta.
The Red Sox return home Wednesday for another two-game series against the Braves, this time from the confines of Fenway Park.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 6-3: Here it is, the Red Sox’s chance to shut the door. Gomes, Sizemore and Ross went down in order against Ian Thomas. Three more outs and the Red Sox have themselves a win streak.
End 8th, Red Sox 6-3: Miller struck out both batters he faced, but the second one was eventful. Strike three squirted away from Ross, who had to race way over to the third-base side behind the plate and make a long throw to Ortiz at first base to get the out.
Bottom 8th, Red Sox 6-3: Jonny Gomes made a nice catch to end the last inning, and he made an even nicer one to get the first out of this inning. Tazawa walked Dan Uggla on a nine-pitch at-bat and was in trouble when Laird laced one to right. But Gomes laid out to nab the sinking liner right before it hit the turf.
That won’t keep Tazawa in the game, though. Andrew Miller is coming in, ready to face pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-3: Ortiz wasn’t happy with how effortlessly the Red Sox went down in their half of the eighth. A flyout by Bogaerts — after a seven-pitch at-bat — and a groundout by Pedroia preceded a weak groundout to first by the big DH. Papi snapped the bat over his leg halfway down to first base.
End 7th, Red Sox 6-3: It was touch-and-go for a minute, but Tazawa moves the Red Sox on to the eighth inning, lead still in hand.
Justin Upton singled to center to welcome Tazawa into the game, but Johnson lifted a foul ball to right that Gomes tracked down.
Bottom 7th, Red Sox 6-3: Craig Breslow got two quick outs by retiring Heyward and Upton, but a single to right field by Freeman will send him to the showers. Junichi Tazawa enters.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 6-3: For once, a team won’t complain about leaving the bases loaded. Although reliever David Hale hit Carp with a pitch, Holt grounded out to second to end the threat. But the damage was done, thanks to Ortiz, Sizemore and Bradley.
Top 7th, Red Sox 6-3: Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Big Papi delivers in the clutch.
Facing lefty Luis Avilan, Ortiz sliced a single to right field to plate Bogaerts, moving Pedroia to second. Both advanced on another weird pop-up single down the right-field line, loading the bases with one out against Avilan.
Sizmore, as he has done all game, made something happen. He swung at the first pitch, sending a would-be double-play ball to Avilan. But the pitcher couldn’t handle it, and Simmons had to back him up just to get Sizemore at first. It was enough to get Pedroia home with the go-ahead run.
The Braves played the percentages by intentionally walking Ross to get to Bradley, but the move backfired. Bradley notched his second straight hit by sending one to left field, driving in Ortiz and Gomes.
Bradley’s two-run single chases Avilan. The new pitcher will face Mike Carp, who is pinch-hitting for Lester.
Top 7th, Braves 3-2: Anthony Varvaro exits after facing three batters, two of whom reached base. Holt grounded out to second to begin the frame, but Bogaerts and Pedroia struck with back-to-back singles to chase the righty.
End 6th, Braves 3-2: Just as Stephen Drew is close to being major-league ready, Bogaerts is rounding into form at short. Bogaerts made two nice defensive plays in the sixth, ranging across the diamond to throw out Pastornicky on a chopper up the middle, then scooping and throwing out pinch hitter Ramiro Pena nicely.
This concludes Harang’s night. The veteran righty went six innings, giving up two runs and seven hits, with seven strikeouts and one walk.
Mid 6th, Braves 3-2: Saying Bradley has had a rough time at the plate is an understatement, but his two-out single and stolen base might have given him something to hang his hat on. Nothing came of it, as Lester went down swinging, but any positive for Bradley is a starting point for the struggling center fielder.
End 5th, Braves 3-2: Maybe Lester should just take the first batter off from now on. Freeman roped a triple to right-center to lead off the frame, creating a tough spot for Lester from the get-go.
Justin Upton walked to put runners at the corners, but was wiped out at second on a tough situation for a baserunner. Johnson lifted a short fly to right field that scored Freeman from third, but because the ball looked catchable, Upton couldn’t take off for second. When the ball dropped, Upton was easily forced at second, with Johnson reaching on the single.
Simmons then grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Mid 5th, tie game 2-2: Harang perfectly pitched around a double by Pedroia to hand the Red Sox another scoreless half-inning.
Holt led off with a flyout to center, and Bogaerts waved at a breaking ball for strike three before Pedroia lined one to right-center. Ortiz took the intentional pass, leading to Gomes going down on three straight pitches.
End 4th, tie game 2-2: After letting the leadoff man reach in the first three innings, Lester finally got one out when he induced a groundout to second by Pastornicky, after falling behind 3-0. But then he walked the pitcher, which wasn’t so hot.
Lester and Ross were none too happy with plate umpire Bob Davidson, who called a 2-2 pitch on the corner a ball. Harang took the next pitch for ball four.
The missed strike might have been just to motivation Lester needed. He blew a fastball past Heyward for a strikeout and painted the corner to Upton to set down the Braves.
Mid 4th, tie game 2-2: Sizemore came to play tonight, both at the plate and on the basepaths.
Following a leadoff lineout by Gomes, Sizemore roped a double down the right-field line, then dashed under Andrelton Simmons’ tag to steal third base. At least, the umpires called Sizemore safe. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez begged to differ, but after a review, the call stood.
David Ross didn’t give Atlanta any time to regroup, either. The veteran catcher smacked a single to center to bring home Sizemore for the tying run.
Bradley lifted one to center, and Lester grounded out to shortstop, but the Red Sox got their run back to make it a new ballgame.
End 3rd, Braves 2-1: The Upton brothers teamed up put runners on the corners with one out, leading to the go-ahead run for the Braves.
B.J. Upton led off with a double down the third-base line. After Freeman swung through strike three, Justin Upton rolled one up the middle that Pedroia couldn’t glove to catch B.J. Upton at third. Johnson made the Sox pay with a sacrifice fly to center, plating B.J. Upton.
Justin Upton reached second on a two-out infield single by Simmons that Holt wisely swallowed. But Lester snuffed out Laird with a curveball to strand the two baserunners.
Mid 3rd, tie game 1-1: If the Red Sox gained any momentum from escaping that bases-loaded jam, they didn’t carry it over to the plate. Holt and Bogaerts flied out to left before Pedroia placed a single in right. But Ortiz flied out harmlessly to center.
End 2nd, tie game 1-1: Remarkably, this game is still tied after the Braves let Lester off the hook.
Singles by Simmons and Laird, followed by a walk to Pastornicky, loaded the bases for Atlanta with none out. But Harang chopped weakly into a 1-2-3 double play, and Heyward grounded out to second base to end the threat.
Mid 2nd, tie game 1-1: Lester had a chance to help his own cause, but went down on three pitches, never taking the bat off his shoulder on strike three.
Lester’s backwards-K ended a half-inning that had promise when Grady Sizemore led off with a solid single to right field. But a brilliant defensive play by Johnson, making up for his first-inning error, wiped out a potential hit for David Ross, and Jackie Bradley Jr. continued his downward slide with a swinging strikeout.
End 1st, tie game 1-1: Jon Lester looked like he might be in trouble when Jason Heyward popped a big fly to right-center for a leadoff home run. But Lester settled down thereafter, with only a single to left-center by Justin Upton before he ended the inning by whiffing Chris Johnson.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Having lost 10 of their last 11 games, the Red Sox will take runs any way they can. They manufactured one in the top of the first with some smart baserunning courtesy of Brock Holt.
Holt stung a grounder past the second baseman for a leadoff hit, then reached second when third baseman Chris Johnson mishandled Xander Bogaerts’ easy ground ball for an error. Holt scurried to third when Aaron Harang flung a wild pitch into the dirt and scored on Dustin Pedroia’s sac fly.
That was all the scoring the Red Sox had in them, though, as David Ortiz went down swinging, and Jonny Gomes grounded into a forceout at second.
7:05 p.m.: We have an update for you on Buchholz’s weight loss. It turns out it was a consequence of Monday’s heat, which was apparently more severe than any Buchholz has pitched in this season. Buchholz also hyperextended his knee and his uncertain for his next start.
Also, catcher Evan Gattis is a late scratch with a strained wrist. He’ll be replaced by Gerald Laird, who will bat seventh. Johnson and Simmons will each bump up a spot in the lineup.
6:31 p.m.: Stephen Drew continues to work his way back to the big leagues. His latest turn will come at McCoy Stadium.
Drew is expected to play at least the next two games at Triple-A Pawtucket before re-joining the Red Sox. Drew is coming off a three-game stint in Single-A after signing with the Red Sox last Wednesday.
5:12 p.m.: Clay Buchholz took a big loss on Monday, even though he was only credited with a no-decision.
Buchholz lost seven pounds during his start, according to Red Sox manager John Farrell. It’s not clear what role that alleged weight loss had on his six-run, four-hit, eight-walk performance in three forgettable innings, but it couldn’t have helped.
3:30 p.m. ET: Jon Lester and the Boston Red Sox are both looking to put the bad old days of the last two weeks behind them.
Lester takes the hill Tuesday night at Turner Field, where the Red Sox (21-29) are looking to make it two wins in a row against the Atlanta Braves (28-22). Whatever switch the Red Sox discovered Monday, when they scored five runs with two outs in the top of the fifth inning to snap a 10-game losing streak, Lester (4-6, 3.36 ERA) would love to flip it, too. Lester was roughed up in his last outing, giving up 10 hits and seven earned runs over 6 1/3 innings to the Blue Jays.
The Braves counter with Aaron Harang (4-4, 3.32), whose ERA has taken a bump after a couple of rough starts in the last month. In that time period, he’s toting a 6.11 ERA. He took a no-decision in his last start, when he scattered nine hits over 5 1/3 innings before a seventh-inning rally vaulted Atlanta to victory.
Having avoided matching the 1986 Kansas City Royals and 1998 Florida Marlins for the longest losing streak for a team the season after winning the World Series, the Red Sox try for mere modest winning streak.
The lineups appear below.
Boston Red Sox (21-29)
Brock Holt, 3B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, 1B
Jonny Gomes, RF
Grady Sizemore, LF
David Ross, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Jon Lester, LHP (4-6, 3.36 ERA)
Atlanta Braves (28-22)
Jason Heyward, LF
B.J. Upton, CF
Freddie Freeman, 1B
Justin Upton, LF
Evan Gattis, C
Chris Johnson, 3B
Andrelton Simmons, SS
Tyler Pastornicky, 2B
Aaron Harang, RHP (4-4, 3.32 ERA)