John Lackey, rookies, lead Red Sox over Braves 4-0


Prior to the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves game, festivities took place regarding a legendary team – a celebration of the 2004 championship team. For the current crop it was once again a brave new world as the Red Sox defeated the Braves 4-0 behind the stellar pitching of John Lackey and the rookie hitting punch of Jackie Bradley and Xander Bogaerts.

Lackey (5-3, 3.58) of Boston faced off against Gavin Floyd (0-1, 2.48) of the Braves at a chilly and dank Fenway Park. Welcome to spring in Boston.

In the last of the second, Jonny Gomes (2-3, RBI) ended up on second via an infield hit and throwing error by shortstop Ramiro Pena. A wild pitch and an eleven pitch walk to Grady Sizemore had runners at the corners and Daniel Nava up. Nava hit into a first pitch DP for a run and no RBI. Sox up 1-0 after two.

In the third, Boston got a second run.

Bogaerts (3-4, BB) had a one-out double and with two outs moved to third on a sharp single by David Ortiz. A.J. Pierzynski then singled and the Sox had their second run.

Floyd, who moved to 0-2 with the loss, was finished after five innings with a line of six hits, two runs (one earned), three walks and three strikeouts. Floyd may have been finished, but the Red Sox were not.

With tough lefty Alex Wood on for the sixth, a Gomes walk and a Sizemore single had two on for the suddenly hot Bradley (2-4, RBI). Bradley responded with a shot to left field for a one-out double and an RBI as Bradley bid adieu to the Mendoza Line.

May 24, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (25) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In the seventh, Lackey (who ran his record to 6-3) ran out of steam after a 105-pitch, 6.1 inning effort. Lackey allowed no runs, eight hits and struck out nine and was replaced by Chris Capuano after singles by Tommy La Stella and Pena.

Capuano worked out of an eventual bases loaded jam by getting tough-hitting Freddie Freeman to hit a ground shot to Dustin Pedroia.

Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow finished up the evening for Boston, ending a six game home losing streak.

The Sox continue their labors of Sisyphus climb towards .500 Thursday night as Jake Peavy (1-2, 4.65) is matched against Mike Minor (2-3, 3.90) for the Braves.