After a lengthy rain delay, the Red Sox and Braves are finally ready to go head-to-head in the first of their three-game set.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway Park.
Braves 4, Red Sox 1, Final -- Craig Kimbrel being shutdown is not quite the surprise that Jair Jurrjens was. The Sox go down in order, and the winning streak is dead at five.
Braves 4, Red Sox 1, Mid 9th -- Just when the Red Sox finally put a run on the board, the Braves match it in the top of the ninth thanks to their sixth straight leadoff baserunner. It's an insane number even taking into account their 13 hits on the night. The run is the first to score off of Mark Melancon in five innings since he returned from Pawtucket, and given that it came in his second inning of work after a bobble by Will Middlebrooks that may have cost the Sox a double play, it's probably not something to read into.
Braves 3, Red Sox 1, End 8th -- At the very least the Sox will not be shut out tonight, and it's thanks in large part to two of Thursday's heroes. Will Middlebrooks gets the second hit, and first really convincing contact of the night off of Jair Jurrjens, as he smashes a ball to the wall in center field for a leadoff double. Ryan Kalish gets some good contact as well, but has MIchael Bourn run down the line drive in center to keep him off the basepaths, and with a ground ball from Mike Aviles not finding a hole, the Sox find themselves with just one out left to bring him home. Luckily, the man at bat is Daniel Nava, who just does not get out very often these days. A wall ball double plates Middlebrooks from second and brings the tying run to the plate, but Dustin Pedroia can only hit a weak ground ball to short. It's less clear by the day why he and his thumb aren't on the disabled list.
Braves 3, Red Sox 0, Mid 8th -- Mark Melancon follows in Lester's footsteps by giving up (you guessed it!) a leadoff baserunner as Chipper Jones hits a line drive to center. He doesn't let the trouble develop, however, getting a fly ball from Jason Heyward, elevating to strike out Matt Diaz, and ending the frame with a ground ball out.
Braves 3, Red Sox 0, End 7th -- It's just one of those inexplicable nights where the Sox take a struggling pitcher and turn them into a Cy Young candidate. There may be nothing more frustrating to watch for Sox fans.
Braves 3, Red Sox 0, Mid 7th -- Jon Lester manages to escape another jam caused by a leadoff baserunner, as the decision to intentionally walk Dan Uggla with a man on third and one out pays off when he turns to the curveball to pick up an important double play that keeps the Braves from adding to their total. Still, it won't matter if the Sox can't get to Jurrjens.
Braves 3, Red Sox 0, End 6th -- The Sox are the victims of another 1-2-3 inning in the sixth, as Jair Jurrjens is now through six innings with just three baserunners allowed. If things don't turn around soon, this may go down as the most pitiful display by a Boston lineup this year, given the competition.
Braves 3, Red Sox 0, Mid 6th -- Another leadoff baserunner, another run for the Braves. This time it's a leadoff double from Jason Heyward which gets Lester in trouble, and all that Atlanta needs to bring the outfielder home is a couple of long fly balls to right field.
Braves 2, Red Sox 0, End 5th -- Jurrjens is rubbing salt in the wound right now. The only baserunner the Sox get in the fifth comes when Will Middlebrooks is plunked with one out. A rather terrible strikeout call on Ryan Kalish has put some controversy into the game, however, as Nauert's zone has perhaps started to lean towards one team rather than the other.
Braves 2, Red Sox 0, Mid 5th -- Jon Lester runs into more trouble after another leadoff single and a two-out hit batsman, but does pick up a couple of weak outs and a fifth strikeout to escape the inning unharmed.
Braves 2, Red Sox 0, End 4th -- The second time through the lineup doesn't seem to be any more difficult for Jair Jurrjens than the first, as the heart of the order goes down 1-2-3, with only Cody Ross really getting any decent wood on the ball--a long fly out to center field that died as it approached the track.
Braves 2, Red Sox 0, Mid 4th -- The hits finally pile up in the fourth inning for Jon Lester, and they cost him a pair of runs. Freddie Freeman gets the inning started with a single ripped down the first base line past the glove of a diving Adrian Gonzalez, and things don't get much better from there. A double to center brings Freeman to third, allowing him to score on a ground ball out. Unfortunately, the trouble didn't end there for Lester, who threw a looping curveball that ended middle-in to Andrelton Simmons, who cleaned it out for an RBI double to left to make it 2-0.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, End 3rd -- Three innings into this one, and it's all the Sox can do to build up Jurrjens' pitch count. This for the guy who entered with an ERA over 9.00. Daniel Nava at least manages to draw the walk--something he's proven quite good at this year--but Dustin Pedroia hits into what would have been a double play if there weren't already two outs in the inning.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, Mid 3rd -- It's starting to look like the Braves are sitting on pitches away from Jon Lester, as both Martin Prado and Brian McCann reach out for pitches on the outside part of the plate and knock singles into the outfield, putting runners on first and third with two outs. Even Dan Uggla goes away, hitting one of those dangerous looking bloopers to the opposite field, but it stays up for plenty long enough for Cody Ross to settle underneath it for the out.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, End 2nd -- The ugliness at the plate continues for the Red Sox, probably in part due to a generous strike zone from home plate umpire Paul Nauert. Cody Ross managed to put on a good show at the plate, but had his seventh pitch line drive go right to Michael Burn in center field. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was a victim of the zone on a changeup low-and-away, while Will Middlebrooks finished out the inning with a two-pitch groundout.
The good news is that Nauert seems to at least be consistent so far tonight. It'll be a down game offensively, most likely, but so long as it's even to both sides, that's all you ask for.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, Mid 2nd -- A similar second inning for Jon Lester, right down to the strikeout of Chipper Jones coming on a cut fastball on the outside edge--almost identical to the Uggla K. Unfortunately, between a Jason Heyward single and some more long at bats, Lester's pitch count is at an unhealthy 39. The strikeouts are nice, but the Sox would prefer Leter get some quick outs before long.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, End 1st -- Not the best of starts for the Red Sox against a pitcher who couldn't record outs in Triple-A, as Daniel Nava swings through a 2-2 pitch and Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz surround an Adrian Gonzalez hit with a pair of relatively lazy fly ball outs. That Gonzalez was behind a fastball on his single and just found the left side of the infield with the shift on does not help appearances, either.
Red Sox 0, Braves 0, Mid 1st -- The top of the first ends up being perhaps a little more difficult than Jon Lester deserved. After striking out Michael Bourn on four pitches, ending encouragingly on a cut fastball, Lester ended up surrendering a long fly ball to Martin Prado, but one that stayed in the park and proved little trouble for Ryan Kalish in center. A pitch that could have earned Lester a second strikeout against Brian McCann instead gave the Braves their first baserunner, as the Atlanta catcher did an excellent job of reaching out and catching a cutter low-and-away for a single, but Lester managed to make that the end of things as he battled back from a 3-1 count to strike out Dan Uggla looking as he painted the outside edge of the plate.