Jurrjens sharp in return, Braves top Red Sox 4-1

Associated Press Modified: June 22, 2012 at 11:32 pm •  Published: June 22, 2012

BOSTON (AP) — Jair Jurrjens showed the skill that made him an All-Star last season — before knee problems and two months in the minors sidetracked his outstanding career.

In his first start since being called up, Atlanta's winningest pitcher in 2011 allowed one run on three hits and shut down the hot-hitting Boston Red Sox, leading the Braves to a 4-1 win on Friday night.

"Awesome," Jurrjens said. "That's the only word I can come up with. Awesome. It felt great. There's no words to describe how good I felt."

Jurrjens, demoted to Triple-A Gwinnett on April 23 after going 0-2 with a 9.37 ERA in four starts, worked 7 2-3 innings and left after allowing an RBI double by Daniel Nava that drove in Will Middlebrooks, who led off the eighth with a double. Boston's only other hit was a clean single to left field by Adrian Gonzalez in the first.

"We just never got him deep in an inning," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. "Everyone thought he looked good to hit and they were anxious to do it and just didn't get the results."

Jurrjens (1-2) was called up Friday and retired eight consecutive batters before Middlebrooks' double, which followed two innings in which Jurrjens threw a total of 14 pitches. He also allowed runners on a walk and a hit batsman and struck out four.

Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save in 22 opportunities.

Andrelton Simmons drove in two runs for Atlanta and Jason Heyward had two doubles and a single, improving to 7 for 11 in his last three games. The Braves won their third straight game after losing seven of eight.

Boston's five-game winning streak ended one day after it completed a three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins in which it scored 28 runs.

The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 14 minutes by rain.

Roger Clemens sat in the first row above the Green Monster in left field. He received a subdued mixture of cheers and mostly boos when shown on the center-field scoreboard after the third inning with the words "Welcome Back Roger Clemens" on the screen. The former Red Sox pitcher was acquitted Monday on all six counts that he lied to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

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