Braves Top Red Sox Behind Stellar Jurrjens Pitching
Jurrjens, an All-Star last season when he topped the Braves with 13 wins, worked 7 2-3 innings and left after allowing an RBI double by Daniel Nava that drove in Will Middlebrooks, who led off the eighth with a double. Boston’s only other hit was a clean single to left field by Adrian Gonzalez in the first.
Jurrjens was demoted to the minors on April 23 after going 0-2 with a 9.37 ERA in four starts. He was called up Friday and retired eight consecutive batters before Middlebrooks’ double that followed two innings in which he threw a total of 14 pitches. He also allowed runners on a walk and a hit batsman.
Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save in 22 opportunities.
Andrelton Simmons drove in two runs for Atlanta and Jason Heyward had two doubles and a single, improving to 7 for 11 in his last three games. The Braves won their third straight game after losing seven of eight.
Boston’s five-game winning streak ended one day after it completed a three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins in which it scored 28 runs.
The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 14 minutes by rain.
Roger Clemens sat in the first row above the Green Monster in left field. He received a subdued mixture of cheers and boos when shown on the center-field scoreboard after the third inning with the words ”Welcome Back Roger Clemens” on the screen. The former Red Sox pitcher was acquitted Monday on all six counts that he lied to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs.
Jurrjens (1-2) began last season with a 5-0 record and 1.66 ERA in six starts. By the All-Star break, he was 12-3 with a 1.87 ERA. But he struggled in the second half, going 1-3 and making two trips to the disabled list with a lingering problem in his right knee. His last appearance of the season came on Aug. 30 and the knee wasn’t back at full strength when this season began.
Even at Triple-A Gwinnett, he had a 5.27 ERA in nine starts.
However, he shackled the Red Sox, who had won seven of their previous eight games.
The Braves got at least one hit in each of the seven innings pitched by Jon Lester (4-5).
Atlanta made it 3-0 in the sixth when Heyward doubled, took third on a fly out to right by Diaz and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Simmons. Freeman singled in Michael Bourn with the final run in the eighth
NOTES: Boston manager Bobby Valentine told struggling 3B Kevin Youkilis that he can expect less playing time. Rookie 3B Middlebrooks started his second straight game Friday, the first time since Youkilis came off the disabled list on May 22 that he hasn’t started two consecutive games. He is hitting .174 with no homers in June. Middlebrooks was batting .316 with eight homers and 31 RBIs in 38 games before Friday. … RHP Randall Delgado (4-7) pitches for Atlanta on Saturday night against Franklin Morales (0-1). … Atlanta is 7-1 in its last eight road games.