Final, Braves 4-3: The Sox didn't mount a threat in the ninth inning, and Tommy Hanson earned a masterful win for Atlanta.
Jon Lester struggled with his control, especially early in counts, and he fought through it for much of his 4 2/3 innings.
The Sox' first five hitters — Marco Scutaro, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz — went a combined 3-for-15 with one solo home run and one strikeout. Scutaro provided the big shot to open the game, but the Sox couldn't get through Hanson after that, as he retired the final 10 batters he faced, including three consecutive strikeouts in the fifth inning.
End 8th, Braves 4-3: Randy Williams had a perfect eighth inning for the Sox, and shortstop Jose Iglesias made a beautiful play to end the inning. He moved toward third base to snag a grounder and threw a dart while falling backward to retire Ed Lucas.
The Sox have David Ortiz, Mark Wagner and Ryan Kalish scheduled to bat in the ninth inning. (Note: Bubba Bell pinch hit for Ortiz.)
Mid 8th, Braves 4-3: New Braves pitcher Peter Moylan set the Sox down in order an inning after George Sherrill struggled with a two-run lead. By the way, the Sox play the Mets on Thursday at City of Palms Park, where the Sox only have seven more games before they move to a new home in 2012.
End 7th, Braves 4-3: Lars Anderson's diving snag down the first-base line saved at least one run and helped Dennys Reyes put an end to a tough seventh inning that was highlighted by David Ross' beautiful RBI bunt single toward first base.
Jon Lester told ESPN during the inning that he was unhappy with his two walks and the fact that he was falling behind hitters throughout the game. But he was pleased with the way he worked through a couple of jams.
Mid 7th, 3-3: Jarrod Saltalamacchia roped his first double of the spring, and his liner to left plated Yamaico Navarro (who replaced Kevin Youkilis after a leadoff single) for the catcher's second RBI of spring training. Later in the inning, Josh Reddick's slow, two-out roller up the middle scored Saltalamacchia, and the Sox stranded two runners in scoring position.
Lefty George Sherrill replaced Scott Linebrink at the top of the seventh. Sherrill, the Orioles' former closer, signed with the Braves over the Phillies during the offseason, opting for Atlanta because it was closer to home.
End 6th, Braves 3-1: Andrew Miller allowed one hit but pitched a scoreless sixth, and the Sox made some more substitutions, including Jose Iglesias for Marco Scutaro, Lars Anderson for Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Reddick for Darnell McDonald. Gonzalez had a quiet day with an 0-for-3 performance at the plate.
Mid 6th, Braves 3-1: Scott Linebrink replaced Tommy Hanson, who had a terrific outing. Dustin Pedroia ended a skid of 12 consecutive outs with an infield single, and he was replaced by Drew Sutton as a pinch runner.
The Braves also substituted Ed Lucas for first baseman Eric Hinske and Brandon Hicks for third baseman Chipper Jones.
End 5th, Braves 3-1: Andrew Miller walked the first batter he faced but got Wilkin Ramirez to ground out to second to end the inning. Jon Lester's final line: Three earned runs, eight hits, two walks, four strikeouts, 4 2/3 innings and 79 pitches. His ERA increased to 2.53.
Bottom 5th, Braves 3-1: Jon Lester has been pulled with two outs in the inning after surrendering a pair of runs. Eric Hinske's one-out sacrifice fly to center plated Brooks Conrad, and Joe Mather's grounder up the middle sent home Chipper Jones. Lester is still on the hook for two men on base. He threw 79 pitches and was relieved by lefty Andrew Miller.
Mid 5th, 1-1: Tommy Hanson struck out all three batters of the fifth inning — Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Kalish and Daniel Nava — to match Jon Lester with five strikeouts in the game. Hanson has been absolutely brilliant, retiring 10 consecutive hitters, but he's thrown 70 pitches so it's possible his afternoon is over.
End 4th, 1-1: Jon Lester has been working hard, and he has thrown 64 pitches through four innings against the Braves. Lester has given up five hits and one walk, and he's got four strikeouts. I'm not sure if Lester will be thrilled with his overall body of work Wednesday, but he should be happy with the way he has fought through the outing without his best stuff.
Mid 4th, 1-1: It doesn't look like the Sox are going to have an easy time breaking through Tommy Hanson, who is on cruise control and has retired seven in a row, including the heart of Boston's order in the fourth. Hanson's breaking stuff has the Sox completely off balance, and his big breaking curveball — when he's seldomly used it — has been flat-out nasty.
End 3rd, 1-1: Jon Lester worked through a one-out walk and got three groundouts, highlighted by Marco Scutaro's dive, twist and throw up the middle to halt Martin Prado. One good point on the broadcast: This is giving Adrian Gonzalez a chance to get some work in with Scutaro and the rest of the starting infield.
Mid 3rd, 1-1: Tommy Hanson had his first 1-2-3 inning of the day, and he's been able to motor through the Boston batting order since Marco Scutaro's leadoff home run. Hanson has only allowed one hit since the game's first batter, but he'll have to deal with Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz in the top of the fourth.
ESPN just did an interview with former Sox starter Derek Lowe, who is expected to be Atlanta's Opening Day starter.
End 2nd, 1-1: Jon Lester recovered in the second inning by retiring all three batters he faced in the bottom-third of the Atlanta lineup. He's moving the ball through the zone better than he did in the first, when the Braves were sitting on his fastball and taking advantage of it when it stayed over the plate.
Mid 2nd, 1-1: Ryan Kalish was the only hitter who made any noise in the second inning. He dropped a two-out liner in front of left fielder Martin Prado, who is adjusting to a relatively new position, and Kalish took advantage of Tommy Hanson's slow delivery to steal second base. Folk hero Daniel Nava couldn't drive Kalish home, though. Interestingly, Nava's first-pitch grand slam was the only home run of his 2010 season.
End 1st, 1-1: Jon Lester got whacked around in the top of the first, giving up three hits and a run before recording an out, but he worked through it and the Braves left runners on the corners. Lester's fastball was hit hard three times — twice for hits and once for a lineout to right field — but he mixed it up to record a strikeout against Eric Hinske. Kevin Youkilis made a nice play at third to knock down a hard grounder behind the bag and throw out Joe Mather.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Tommy Hanson made easy work of Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis after Marco Scutaro's leadoff home run. Gonzalez reached for a low curveball and hit a lazy fly shy of the warning track in left field.
Top 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Marco Scutaro pulled Tommy Hanson's second pitch over the left-field wall to give the Sox a quick lead. Hunter started off with two fastballs, and Scutaro jumped all over the second one.
1:02 p.m.: The Sox and Braves are getting ready to square off at Champion Stadium for the first time since 2009.
12:32 p.m.: If you're looking for more details on Wednesday's big announcement about Jon Lester, well, you've come to the right place.
11:46 a.m.: No fooling around here, Jon Lester got some big news before Wednesday's start against the Braves. He'll be the Red Sox' Opening Day starter April 1 in Texas. The question now, does this take him out of the Sox' first home series against the Yankees? Unless Terry Francona plans to tweak things at the end of the first cycle in the rotation, Lester doesn't line up to start that weekend.
10:05 a.m.: Marco Scutaro will lead off for the Red Sox and play shortstop, and he'll be followed in the batting order by Dustin Pedroia (second base), Adrian Gonzalez (first base), Kevin Youkilis (third base), David Ortiz (designated hitter), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (catcher), Ryan Kalish (center field), Daniel Nava (left field) and Darnell McDonald (right field). For more on a Braves lineup that includes former Sox utility man Eric Hinske, check here.
8 a.m.: Red Sox lefty Jon Lester will try to string together his second consecutive good start after missing an outing with the flu earlier this month when he takes the hill against the Braves.
Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and Marco Scutaro highlight the list of players who are scheduled to make the trip to Orlando.
And once Lester is done, he is expected to be relieved by Randy Williams, Andrew Miller, Dennys Reyes and Matt Fox, who are all competing to earn a job at the back of the Red Sox bullpen.
First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.