Jurrjens silences Sox in return to Majors


Jurrjens silences Sox in return to Majors

BOSTON -- Riding a five-game winning streak, coming off perhaps their most inspiring win of the season, their confidence at a season high, facing a pitcher who was being called up from Triple-A it appeared the confluence of factors was in the Red Sox favor.

Instead, Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens, making his first big league start since April 23, shut down the Red Sox offense as the Braves beat the Red Sox and Jon Lester, 4-1, at Fenway Park Friday night.

The Sox offense could manage just three baserunners over the first seven innings against Jurrjens, who took a record of 0-2 with a 9.37 ERA into the game. Jurrjens allowed just one hit, a first-inning single by Adrian Gonzalez. Daniel Navas two-out walk in the third and Will Middlebrooks getting hit with 1-out, 1-1, 88-mph fastball in the fifth accounted for all the offense the Sox could muster against the Braves starter.

But Jurrjens tired in the eighth, giving up a run on doubles by Will Middlebrooks and Daniel Nava.

Jurrjens earned the win, going 7 23 innings, giving up one run on three hits and walk with four strikeouts and a hit batter.

Jon Lester, despite recording his ninth quality start in 15 outings and lowering his ERA from 4.53 to 4.48, took the loss, dropping his record to 4-5. He went seven innings, giving up three runs on 10 hits, matching a season high, with one intentional walk, a hit batter, and five strikeouts. He threw 118 pitches, the most since 120 in 6 23 innings on May 30 against the Tigers.

Freddie Freeman led off the fourth with a single to right, taking third on Jason Heywards double to left-center, and scoring on Matt Diazs groundout to Mike Aviles at shortstop. Andrelton Simmons double to left scored Heyward, giving the Braves a 2-0 lead.

Atlanta added a run in the sixth when Heyward led off with a double to right, took third on Diazs fly out to Cody Ross in right, scoring on Simmons sacrifice fly to Ross.

Mark Melancon pitched 1 23 innings, giving up a run on three hits and an intentional walk with one strikeout. Clayton Mortensen finished off the ninth.

Craig Kimbrel earned his 20th save for the Braves with a perfect ninth inning.

Pedro Martinez to WEEI: Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez to WEEI: Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired. 

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”