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Lackey Lifts Red Sox to Third Straight Win

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

BOSTON (AP) — John Lackey pitched neatly into the seventh inning and the Boston Red Sox beat the Atlanta Braves 4-0 Wednesday night, their third straight victory after their longest losing streak in 20 years.

The Red Sox honored Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling and members of their 2004 World Series championship team before the game, then put on another winning performance at Fenway Park.

Jackie Bradley Jr., A.J. Pierzynski and Jonny Gomes each had had two hits and an RBI as the Red Sox extended their mastery over the Braves after beating them in Atlanta on Monday and Tuesday nights. Boston is 18-6 since 2005 against Atlanta.

Lackey (6-3) combined with three relievers for Boston’s first shutout of the season. He gave up eight hits, struck out nine and walked none in 6 1-3 innings.

Boston’s winning string has come after a 10-game skid.

Lackey allowed more than one baserunner in just two innings. He has permitted two earned runs or less in eight of his 12 starts.

Gavin Floyd (0-2) gave up two runs in five innings and took his first career loss against the Red Sox after seven wins. He is 3-1 in four starts at Fenway Park.

Boston went ahead 1-0 in the second inning when Gomes led off with a single and kept going to second on a throwing error by shortstop Ramiro Pena. Gomes took third on a wild pitch before Grady Sizemore walked, and scored when Daniel Nava grounded into a double play.

The Red Sox added a run in the third on a double by Xander Bogaerts, one of his three hits, and singles by David Ortiz and Pierzynski.

Boston made it 3-0 in the sixth against reliever Alex Wood when Gomes walked, took second on a single by Sizemore and scored on a double by Bradley. In Tuesday night’s 6-3 win, Bradley hit a two-run single in a four-run seventh when Boston took the lead.

The Red Sox reached Wood for another run in the seventh on an RBI single by Gomes after singles by Dustin Pedroia and Pierzynski.

In each of his first six innings, Lackey had at least one strikeout and didn’t allow a runner past second base. He retired the first hitter in the seventh, then allowed singles to Tommy La Stella and Pena that put runners at first and third.

Lackey left after throwing 105 pitches. Chris Capuano retired Jason Heyward on a groundout to second as the runners advanced to second and third. Heyward’s bat broke and Capuano fell on his back as he just avoided being hit by a broke piece.

Capuano walked B.J. Upton, loading the bases, before getting Freddie Freeman to end the threat with a grounder.

Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow completed the victory with one scoreless inning each.


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