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Jon Lester certainly wasn’t thrilled with his performance as the Red Sox fell to the visiting Atlanta Braves 4-1 at Fenway Park on a Friday night where the team managed just three hits. That was primarily due to a strong start by Jair Jurrjens, but Lester seems to be growing accustomed to surprisingly average performances this season.
He pitched seven innings and allowed just three runs over ten hits and a walk, striking out five Atlanta hitters. With the loss he falls to 4-5 on the year with a high 4.48 ERA. The first two runs he surrendered came in the fourth inning on a ground out and RBI double by Andrelton Simmons, which scored Jason Heyward. The duo struck again in the sixth, as Simmons drove in Heyward with a sacrifice fly. Heyward has three hits including two doubles off of Lester.
For the Red Sox, the offense was dead with the exception of an Adrian Gonzalez base hit in the first inning until the team looked poised to rally in the eighth. Will Middlebrooks scorched a double off of Jurrjens for the second Boston hit to leadoff the inning. The Braves fill in starter, just called up from the minor leagues, managed to get the next two outs before Daniel Nava also doubled, knocking in Middlebrooks and putting the tying run at the plate as the Sox trailed 3-1.
Jurrjens departed from the game as Atlanta called for Chad Durbin out of the bullpen to face Dustin Pedroia. On the seventh pitch of the at bat, Pedroia grounded out to shortstop, killing the possible comeback. Pedroia was 0-4 in the game and is now batting .260 for the season. Since hurrying back from his thumb injury without a DL stint, the second baseman is hitting just .145.
Atlanta tacked on a run in the ninth inning off of Sox reliever Mark Melancon, and 2011 rookie of the year Craig Kimbrel closed out the Braves win as the Sox lost a head scratcher of a game. With Lester on the mound due for a strong outing, and the Tommy John surgery to Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy forcing the start by Jurrjens, things seemed lined up well for an offensive explosion and dominate victory to start the three-game series. Instead the team suffers a loss to end their five game winning streak, which they will attempt to restart on Saturday evening behind Franklin Morales.