BOSTON (AP) - Boston's Jon Lester insists it's not mechanical. It's not mental or physical, either.
In fact, the left-hander can't really pinpoint his recent problems.
``I'm getting tired of the same old (stuff),' Lester said, using a profanity, after allowing three runs and 10 hits as the Red Sox lost 4-1 to the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.
``Making good pitches and they're getting hit. I don't know what else to do.
``Same book, different chapter for me.'
Lester (4-5) struck out five, walked one and hit a batter over seven innings but couldn't keep the Braves off the bases.
He allowed four two-out singles through the first three innings and escaped unharmed before Atlanta took a 2-0 lead in the fourth, after which he had already thrown 74 pitches.
``They did a good job early on of kind of knowing what we normally do against lefties and we altered it and still got hit,' Lester said. ``Go ask the other hitters what I'm doing. I don't know.
``Not up in the zone, down, on the corners and still getting whacked around. So, I'm at a loss right now.'
Lester is 1-2 in his past six starts, the lone win coming June 16 when he gave up three runs in 6 2-3 innings during a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
``I thought he threw the ball extremely well,' Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. ``He could have won that game very easily.'
Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens was better.
He showed the skill that made him an All-Star last season - before knee problems and two months in the minors sidetracked his career.
In his first start since being called up, Atlanta's winningest pitcher in 2011 allowed one run and three hits.
``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 single to left field by Adrian Gonzalez in the first.
``We just never got him deep in an inning,' 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.
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 past 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.
Jurrjens began last season 5-0 with a 1.66 ERA in six starts. By the All-Star break, he was 12-3 with a 1.87 ERA. But he struggled in the second half, going 1-3 and making two trips to the disabled list with a lingering problem in his right knee. His last appearance of the season came Aug. 30 and the knee wasn't back at full strength when this season began.
Even at Triple-A Gwinnett, he had a 5.27 ERA in nine starts.
``I guess it's a little easier to pitch in the big leagues than in Triple A,' Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez joked.
The Braves took a 2-0 lead in the fourth, scoring on a groundout by Matt Diaz and a double by Simmons, who added a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Freeman singled in the last run in the eighth.
NOTES: Valentine told struggling 3B Kevin Youkilis that he can expect less playing time. Rookie 3B Middlebrooks started his second straight game Friday, the first time since Youkilis came off the disabled list on May 22 that he hasn't started two consecutive games. He is hitting .174 with no homers in June. Middlebrooks is batting .319 with eight homers and 31 RBIs in 39 games. ... RHP Randall Delgado (4-7) pitches for Atlanta on Saturday night against Franklin Morales (0-1). ... Atlanta is 7-1 in its past eight road games.
The Associated Press News Service
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