Jurrjens Silences Sox Bats. Braves Win 4-1.


It was clear by the third inning of Friday’s game between the Atlanta Braves and the Red Sox that it was going to be a struggle. Jon Lester and Braves pitcher and Jair Jurrjens were locked in a tense set ’em up and knock ’em down affair. Lester blinked in the fourth inning. Jurrjens cruised into the eighth inning (7.2), befuddling Red Sox hitters while giving up just three hits and one run in a 4-1 Braves win that snapped Boston’s win streak at five.

The fourth inning has been Lester’s worst inning in 2012. After the two runs he gave up on Friday in the fourth at Fenway his total stood at 15 for the year. Lester wasn’t bad (7.0 IP, 10 hits and three runs on six Ks and one walk) but he also wasn’t great. The Braves touched up Lester for another run in the sixth when Justin Heyward double to lead off the inning, was moved to third on a sac fly by Matt Diaz and scored on another sac fly by shortstop Andrelton Simmons.

Quoted on Boston’s website after his frustrating loss that moved him to a very pedestrian 4-5 record with a 4.48 ERA, Lester said, “I’m getting tired of the same old [stuff]. I’m making good pitches and they’re getting hit. I don’t know what else to do. The process is there. I’m still not getting results. It’s the same book, different chapter for me.”

"It was also clear as Jurrjens got through the middle innings that Lester wasn’t going to get much help from his offense. Through five innings Boston had produced just one hit, a single by Adrian Gonzalez, and hadn’t advanced a runner to second base. If Clay Buchholz had pitched last night, Boston would have won 8-4."

The only hint of a rally happened in the eighth inning when Will Middlebrooks led off the inning with a double. After Ryan Kalish lined out and Mike Aviles grounded out, Daniel Nava stroked a double to score Middlbrooks. Jurrjens was lifted and Chad Durbin quickly got Dustin Pedroia to ground out to short to end the inning and the rally.

The loss was especially exasperating for Boston’s offense.  Jurrgens has been in the Braves minor league system for two months after posting a 9.37 ERA with the Braves in his first four starts before being sent down. His return to Major League action last night looked much more like the 2011 edition of Jurrgens who entered last year’s All-Star break with a Major League best 1.87 ERA.

The Sox and Braves tangle again tonight at Fenway at 7:15 as Franklin Morales takes the bump for the second time as a starter this season.