The early evening thunderstorms that delayed the game one hour and 14 minutes, putting an end to the recent heat wave, wasn’t the only thing doing the cooling Friday night at Fenway Park.
Atlanta Braves starter Jair Jurrjens (1-2) was able to stifle the Red Sox hitters, putting an end to the teams’ five-game winning streak in the Braves’ 4-1 win over the Red Sox.
Jurrjens went 7 2/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits and striking out five.
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It was his fifth major league start of the season after being recalled from Triple-A earlier this week. He had not made it past the fifth inning of any of his four previous starts.
“He had good command of his fast ball and was getting early swings on his changeup,” said Red Sox center fielder Cody Ross. “He pitched really well, a lot better than he has in awhile.”
The right-hander is in his sixth year in the big leagues, and was named to the National League All-Star team just last year. A knee injury at the end of last season carried over into this season forcing him to spend the past two months in Triple-A.
The Red Sox did not have a hit after the first inning until the eighth when Will Middlebrooks belted a leadoff double to straight away center. Two batters later, Daniel Nava doubled off the green monster to score Middlebrooks for the lone Red Sox run.
Middlebrooks is now seven for his last 10, and is likely to now be the everyday third baseman.
The run was the only offense the Red Sox could come up with and the three hits were the second-lowest total in a game this season.
“Everyone thought [his pitches] looked good to hit,” manager Bobby Valentine said of Jurrjens. “They were anxious, we just didn’t get the results.”
Red Sox starter Jon Lester (4-5) did not have his best stuff in his seven innings of work. He allowed three runs on 10 hits, including four doubles, while striking out five in the loss.
“I am getting tired of the same old [expletive],” Lester said, as he now has just one win since May 25. “I am making good pitches. I don’t know what else to do. The process is there I just still am not getting results. It’s the same book, different chapter.”
The Braves got on the board in the fourth inning with two runs.
Matt Diaz’s RBI groundout scored Freddie Freeman who led off the inning with a double. The next hitter, Andrelton Simmons doubled plating Jason Heyward, who also doubled, two batters before.
The fourth inning has been Lester’s worst this season as 15 of his 46 earned runs have came in the fourth, which is equates to a 9.64 ERA.
The Braves added a run in the sixth when Heyward scored his second run of the game after he led the inning off with a double.
He finished the game with two doubles, two runs scored and a single.
“I am throwing the ball fine,” Lester said. “I just am not getting results. I don’t think it’s mental. I am mentally prepared. I am physically prepared for every start. I go out and compete, that is all you can do. You can’t worry about anything else.
“I am at a loss right now.”
Freeman added an RBI single in the ninth off of Red Sox reliever Mark Melancon for the fourth Braves run.
The two teams return to the field Saturday night for the second game of their three game series. Franklin Morales (0-1) will take to the hill for his second start of the season, and will be opposed by Randall Delgado (4-7).
First pitch is set for 7:15 p.m.