Fans in the center field bleachers reach for the home run ball hit by Boston Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in Boston, Monday, June 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer
June 15, 2015

BOSTON (AP) Williams Perez prefers starting to relieving. In the last week, he's been pretty good at both.

Just two days after picking up his first career save in an extra-innings relief appearance, Perez pitched six shutout innings to lead the Atlanta Braves to a 4-2 victory over the Red Sox on Monday night. It was Boston's seventh straight loss.

''He's confident. He's locked in,'' Braves designated hitter Kelly Johnson said after the rookie right-hander won in his Fenway Park debut. ''I don't think he (cares) where he is.''

Perez (3-0) allowed five hits and two walks, striking out two. He has made six major league starts and allowed one run or none in five of them. He also pitched a scoreless 11th in Saturday's game against the New York Mets.

''He said he likes starting more than being a reliever or a closer,'' bullpen coach Eddie Perez said, acting as interpreter. ''But he said he'd do anything to be in the big leagues.''

Jason Grilli pitched the ninth for his 17th save, putting two on with one run in before getting pinch-hitter Alejandro De Aza on a weak grounder back to the mound. The Red Sox are in last place in the AL East, nine games behind Tampa Bay.

''We're fighting. We're not giving at-bats away,'' said Pablo Sandoval, who recorded his 200th career double and then added another for his 1,000th career hit. ''We've got a good team. I've been in tough situations before. We need to stick together and play hard.''

Nick Markakis, Juan Uribe and A.J. Pierzynski each had two of Atlanta's nine singles.

Williams Perez retired David Ortiz on a long flyball and Sandoval doubled with two outs. Mike Napoli reached on an error, and Mookie Betts singled in a run - his third hit of the game - to make it 4-2.

But Perez got De Aza, who is batting .208, to dribble the ball in front of the plate to end the game.

''You want him out there in different situations, and he always rises to the occasion,'' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. ''I couldn't ask for anything more.''

Rick Porcello (4-7) allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings for Boston. Dustin Pedroia had two hits, and Xander Bogaerts hit a solo homer in the seventh.

Porcello walked one and struck out five but also hit a batter and threw two wild pitches. He gave up three straight singles in the fourth and the Braves scored three times.

Freddie Freeman singled with one out, stole second and scored on Markakis' single. Uribe singled, then one out later Markakis scored on a wild pitch. Pierzynski singled to make it 3-0.

Kelly Johnson singled and scored in the seventh to give Atlanta a 4-0 lead before Bogaerts hit his first homer since May 20.

WELCOME BACK

The Red Sox played a video for Jonny Gomes, who was the left fielder for their 2013 championship team. The highlights included the emotional moment in the victory parade when Gomes placed the World Series trophy at the Boston Marathon finish line, not far from the site of the bombing a few months earlier.

Gonzalez said he was glad to have someone on the roster familiar with Fenway's left field wall.

''He's talking about dead spots and all the stuff out there,'' Gonzalez said. ''I don't think he's the Larry Bird of Fenway Park. I don't know if he's Larry Bird of the Green Monster.''

OUCH

Andrelton Simmons was hit on the right hand when he tried to bunt in the seventh inning, but he stayed in the game. In the ninth, he had a throwing error, but Gonzalez said it was the wet conditions and not an injury.

Simmons was not scheduled for X-rays, Gonzalez said after the game.

LINEUP SHUFFLING

Braves: Atlanta promoted C Ryan Lavarnway from Triple-A and recalled RHP Sugar Ray Marimon. C Christian Bethancourt and OF Todd Cunningham were optioned to Gwinnett of the International League.

Red Sox: Napoli returned to the lineup after getting two days off to rest. He entered the game batting .200, and was moved to the No. 7 spot in the order. The Red Sox activated LHP Craig Breslow from the paternity list and recalled Robbie Ross Jr. from Triple-A. INF Travis Shaw was optioned to Pawtucket and INF Jeff Bianchi was designated for assignment.

UP NEXT

Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (4-2) will be facing the Red Sox for the first time.

Red Sox: LHP Miley (5-6) will make his first start since having a screaming match with manager John Farrell in the dugout during Thursday's game against Baltimore.

You May Like