Boston, MA – Jair Jurrjens returned to the major leagues and shut down the Boston Red Sox, as the Braves took the opener of a three-game interleague series by a 4-1 count.
Jurrjens (1-2) gave up one run on only three hits over 7 2/3 innings in his first Atlanta start since April 23. The 26-year-old spent most of this season with Triple-A Gwinnett, but was recalled to replace Brandon Beachy, who underwent Tommy John surgery last Wednesday. Jurrjens struggled in Atlanta and Gwinnett this season. He had a 9.37 earned run average in four April starts with the Braves and only improved to a 5.18 ERA in the minors. However, Jurrjens held the Braves at bay and picked up his first major-league win of the 2011 campaign.
"He pitched really well. He pitched better than he has in a while," Red Sox outfielder Cody Ross said of Jurrjens.
Jason Heyward, who came into the game with a .351 average in June, remained hot. He collected three hits and drove in a pair of runs for the Braves, who have won their last three games.
Jon Lester (4-5) took the loss for the Red Sox, who had a five-game winning streak snapped. The left-hander gave up three runs on 10 hits in seven innings, fanning five and walking one.
Atlanta pushed across two runs in the fourth inning to open the scoring. Freddie Freeman led off the frame with a base hit. He reached third when Heyward rang a shot off the Green Monster. Matt Diaz then grounded out to short, scoring Freeman, before Andrelton Simmons smoked a double into the left-field corner to drive in Heyward.
The Braves added another run in the sixth. Heyward started the inning with a double to right, then a pair of fly balls brought him home, giving Atlanta a 3-1 lead.
The Red Sox got a run back in the eighth inning. Will Middlebrooks started the frame with Boston's second hit of the night, a double. Two batters later, Daniel Nava drove a fly ball off the Monster to put Boston on the board.
The Braves got the run back in the ninth, though, taking advantage of another leadoff base runner. Michael Bourn reached with a single up the middle. Martin Prado then grounded out and Mark Melancon intentionally walked Brian McCann. Dan Uggla tapped a ground ball to Middlebrooks at third, but he bobbled a potential double play ball and only recorded the out at second. Freeman took advantage, lining a single up the middle to plate the Braves' fourth run.
Craig Kimbrel retired the Red Sox in order in the ninth to pick up his 21st save of the season.
"There's no panic on our dugout," said Ross. "It's just a matter of time."
The Braves lead the all-time series with the Red Sox, 28-24...Nava is hitting .432 (19-for-44) in 15 June games...Lester tied Bill Monbouquette for ninth on the Red Sox' all-time strikeout list (969 strikeouts)...Heyward is hitting .377 (23-for-61) with seven doubles and 13 RBI in the month of June...The Braves have won seven of their last eight road games...The Braves are 32-7 when scoring four or more runs in a game...Kimbrel has not blown any of his 13 save opportunities on the road this season...Bourn has hit safely in 18 of his last 20 games...Boston went 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left four on base...Atlanta went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base.