Red Sox Live Blog: Braves Pitcher Jair Jurrjens Shuts Down Sox, Leads Team to 4-1 Win


Red Sox Live Blog: Braves Pitcher Jair Jurrjens Shuts Down Sox, Leads Team to 4-1 Win

Final, Braves 4-1: After winning five straight games, the Red Sox saw their streak come to an end.

The offense simply ran into a lights-out pitcher in Jurrjens, who shut the Red Sox down after getting recalled from Triple-A. The Sox only mustered up three hits.

Despite the no-decision, Jon Lester was solid, tossing another quality outing, but he allowed 10 hits — higher than usual.

Mid 9th, Braves 4-1: Since we were on Mark Melancon ERA watch, he raised it back up to 15.43 by allowing a run.

That said, he's still been pretty reliable upon his return. The Red Sox bullpen will be bolstered whenever Daniel Bard returns from Pawtucket.

Earlier on Friday, Bard said he wanted to return to relieving.

11:08 p.m.: Just when I praised Mark Melancon, he surrendered a run. That gives way for Clayton Mortensen to come in.

End 8th, Braves 3-1: After homering in the eighth inning the last two games, Will Middlebrooks couldn't deliver again.

He did, however, belt a double that keyed a run. While Nava drove in a run, Dustin Pedroia couldn't continue the momentum.

Pedroia grounded out, making him 0-for-11 in his recent stretch.

10:51 p.m.: Jurrjens reached the end of the road, allowing a double to Will Middlebrooks and then Daniel Nava, who drove in the run.

Mid 8th, Braves 3-0: Since getting recalled to Boston, Mark Melancon has been perfect.

Through 4 1/3 frames, the reliever and former Astros closer hasn't allowed a single run, lowering his ERA to 15.63 in five appearances.

It strays from the days in April, when he seemingly couldn't get anyone out. He's only walked one batter since coming back, too.

End 7th, Braves 3-0: Cody Ross popped out in his at-bat, leaving him at 0-for-3 at this point.

Nevertheless, the outfielder's return has been an absolute boost for the Red Sox, who have peeled off five straight wins.

His nine homers and 32 RBIs are on pace to exceed his statistics from the 2011 season.

Mid 7th, Braves 3-0: For his part, Jon Lester is still eating up innings and alleviating the burden from the Red Sox' bullpen.

But that was his 118th pitch of the game and it will likely be his last one of the game. He allowed a good amount of hits, but still tossed a quality outing.

End 6th, Braves 3-0: You have to wonder if Dustin Pedroia's thumb is still an issue.

With the exception of a few games, he's been slumping since returning from a six-game hiatus after suffering a torn adductor muscle in his thumb.

He won't make excuses, saying all along that he's been fine. But the numbers aren't there at the moment.

Mid 6th, Braves 3-0: Jason Heyward smacked his second double of the game.

Remember when he was Bryce Harper before Bryce Harper? Some injuries have sapped him of playing time early on, but he's producing pretty well.

Entering this game, he's belted 10 home runs and 34 RBIs.

End 5th, Braves 2-0: Jurrjens continues to mow down the Red Sox' lineup, allowing just one hit and one walk with three strikeouts.

It took him all of nine pitches — against four batters — to retire the order, so he's showing some efficiency, which is key.

If he keeps this up, he'll be a strong replacement for Brandon Beachy, who is out for the year.

Mid 5th, Braves 2-0: Lester nearly got himself in some trouble again, allowing a single and then plunking Brian McCann.

But that mix of changeups and fastballs stifled Atlanta's Chipper Jones, who popped out for the last out of the inning.

You have to give Jones credit for his longevity in this game. He's switched from outfield to infield on multiple occasions in his career.

End 4th, Braves 2-0: Adrian Gonzalez followed up his early single with a ground out, lowering his average to .258.

It's funny to note that Jarrod Saltalamacchia said he would gladly take one of Gonzalez's "slumps" if it meant still hitting .258. He credited that to Gonzalez's plate approach.

The catcher, meanwhile, is batting .263 for the season.

Mid 4th, Braves 2-0: As one of my colleagues pointed out in a witty way, as soon as Roger Clemens was shown on the screen, Freddie Freeman — get it, free man — roped a single.

Anyway, Lester has leaned on his sinker and changeup pretty hard in ths inning.

Doubles from Jason Heyward and Andrelton Simmons changed up the game and led to two runs.

End 3rd, 0-0: Jair Jurrjens has been strong so far. The hurler was recalled from the minors after injuries decimated Atlanta's rotation.

And don't forget that Jurrjens was an All-Star last season. But that's why baseball is a crazy game and unpredictable.

Also, Roger Clemens is in attendance at the game. He was booed when shown on the video board.

Mid 3rd, 0-0: Jon Lester nearly got himself in some trouble, yielding singles to Martin Prado and Brian McCann in that one.

But he escaped unfazed and it's really a testament to his mental toughness that he's been able to overcome the one hour, rain delay without any issue.

Historically, he's been a slow starter, but it seems he's rolling into form with his recent starts.

End 2nd, 0-0: Well, Will Middlebrooks just grounded out in his first at-bat. But obviously, he's been sizzling at the plate.

He's told me on a few occasions that, despite all the drama, Kevin Youkilis has really taken him under his wing this season. He's showed him the ropes off the field as well.

That should bode well for the youngster as he aims for an All-Star career.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: Two frames, two scoreless inning for Jon Lester.

He also struck out Chipper Jones, who was also one of Jarrod Saltalamacchia's mentors back in Atlanta.

Jones said before the season that he planned to retire and Saltalamacchia was certainly happy for his mentor.

End 1st, 0-0: Adrian Gonzalez collected a single in that frame, but the Sox couldn't capitalize much more.

By the way, don't expect to see Gonzalez in the outfield that many more times. With most outfielders healthy, Bobby Valentine opted to play the hot hand at third base and won't be taking many gambles with Gonzalez in the outfield.

Mid 1st, 0-0: The lengthy rain delay hasn't bothered Red Sox starter Jon Lester so far.

Although he surrendered a hit, he racked up two strikeouts against formidable batters in Dan Uggla and Michael Bourn.

It'll be key to keep Bourn off the base paths since he's such a speedster and a threat.

7:45 p.m.: We have a start time. They are taking the tarp off and starting to get the field ready, and the Sox have just announced they are aiming for a 8:20 p.m. start.

Don't go anywhere.

7:10 p.m.: And we are officially delayed.

This Red Sox rain delay is presented by L.L. Bean.

Don't worry, we'll have plenty of coverage while we wait for things to start.

The big news today so far has been Bobby V's decision to ride the hot hand at third base, and that means we'll be seeing a lot more of Will Middlebrooks in the near future.

Elsewhere, NESN Nation thinks the Braves should probably take some time and thank the Red Sox at some point this series for taking away the attention from their epic collapse last year.

Or if hockey's your thing, make sure to head on over to our NHL Draft live blog to keep up to date with the Bruins' picks tonight and all the wheeling and dealing that always accompanies draft day.

6:50 p.m.: Looks like this one's going to be pushed back a little.

The Red Sox just announced that the game's start will be delayed for a bit, but have not specified exactly when we'll get underway.

We'll be sure to let you know when we hear more.

6:15 p.m.: The only thing hotter than the Boston weather right now is Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks. The rookie is so hot that there's no way Bobby Valentine can keep the youngster out of the lineup.

Middlebrooks is back in there again on Friday night as the club opens its final interleague series of the season, welcoming the Braves to Fenway Park.

Red Sox
Daniel Nava, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Cody Ross, RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Ryan Kalish, CF
Mike Aviles, SS

Jon Lester, P

Michael Bourn, CF
Martin Prado, 3B
Brian McCann, C
Dan Uggla, 2B
Freddie Freeman, 1B
Chipper Jones, DH
Jason Heyward, RF
Matt Diaz, LF
Andrelton Simmons, SS

Jair Jurrjens, P

8 a.m. ET: Riding a five-game winning streak, the Red Sox (36-33) are looking to keep it going as they open up a series against the Braves. Boston will have Jon Lester, who is 4-4 with a 4.53 ERA, on the bump as he intends to collect his second straight win. Lester snapped a four-start winless streak on Saturday at Wrigley Field, striking out eight Cubs in 6 2/3 innings. In three June starts, the lefty has 3.66 ERA with 22 strikeouts.

Lester will go up against Braves starter Jair Jurrjens, who is 0-2 with a 9.37 ERA this season. Jurrjens is getting his shot back in the Braves rotation as he replaces Brandon Beachy, who will likely miss the rest of the season due to injury. An All-Star in 2011, Jurrjens will attempt to halt Boston's momentum and recapture his form.

For more details and analysis from Fenway, follow's live blog. Tune into NESN's pregame show at 6 p.m. First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m.

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