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.

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.