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Jair Jurrjens Returns to Atlanta Braves with a Gem, Shuts Down Boston Red Sox

June 23rd, 2012 at 9:43 AM
By Cody Fields

Exactly no one knew what to expect when the Atlanta Braves were forced to bring back Jair Jurrjens two months after being sent down to Triple-A. With Brandon Beachy lost to Tommy John surgery, Jurrjens stepped in with an absolute gem, going 7 2/3 innings in the 4-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Jurrjens gave up only three hits and one run – two of those hits and the run coming in the eighth inning – looking more like the pitcher who led the Major Leagues with a 1.87 ERA going into last year's All-Star break than the one who threw up a 9.37 ERA in four starts in April before being demoted.

"He really was terrific," manager Fredi Gonzalez said on mlb.com. "I guess it's a little easier to pitch in the big leagues than it is in Triple-A."

A single by Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning and a walk to Daniel Nava in the third were the only baserunners Jurrjens gave up until the eighth inning, when Will Middlebrooks singled to lead off the frame. He was driven in two batters later on a double by Nava to end Jurrjens' 103-pitch effort.

"There's no words to describe how good I felt," Jurrjens said.

Chad Durbin got Dustin Pedroia to ground out to end the eighth-inning threat, and Craig Kimbrel threw a perfect ninth for his 21st save.

With Jurrjens' fastball sitting in the 91-92 miles-per-hour range, McCann said his livelier fastball looks even better than at this time last year. When Jurrjens was struggling in April, his fastball was 88-89, meaning his changeup lacked the separation to deceive batters.

Jason Heyward kept swinging his hot bat with a three-hit night. His double in the fourth off Jon Lester set up the Braves' first two runs with runners on second and third with one out. Matt Diaz grounded out to drive in Freddie Freeman, and Andrelton Simmons doubled with two outs to bring home Heyward.

Heyward would lead off the sixth with another double and be driven in by Simmons again, this time with a sacrifice fly.

Heyward has hit .389 (21-for-54) with seven multihit games in his past 15 games, bringing his average up to .270.

Tags: Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Daniel Nava, Jair Jurrjens, Jason Heyward, Jon Lester, MLB

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