ATLANTA — Rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. showed why he remains in the Boston starting lineup despite a poor batting average.
Bradley’s two-out single with the bases loaded in the seventh inning sparked a four-run rally and gave the Red Sox a 6-3, come-from-behind win over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.
“Jackie did a good job with men in scoring position,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “He’s got strengths that he brings and that’s defense. You’ve got to allow some growth (on offense). He’s learning on the job.”
The Red Sox took advantage of five hits, one walk and one hit batsman against three Atlanta relievers in the critical inning to win their second consecutive game after a 10-game losing streak.
“They kept keeping the line moving,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “And they put a big number up there.”
Boston tied the game on an opposite-field single by first baseman David Ortiz and took the lead on a broken-bat fielder’s choice with the bases loaded by left fielder Grady Sizemore. After catcher David Ross was intentionally walked, Bradley, Boston’s center fielder, drove in two runs with a sharp single to left.
Bradley had two hits, his seventh multi-hit game of the season, and raised his average from .193 to .201.
“He keeps the bat in the strike zone and he’s able to handle the ball away from him,” Farrell said.
The run support benefited Jon Lester, who gave up three runs on eight hits in six innings. Lester (5-6) finished with three walks and seven strikeouts.
“(Lester) didn’t have his best command,” Farrell said. “It was a grind. His pitch count was up. He battled himself some. But in the end he had a solid start.”
Koji Uehara pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 11th save.
Anthony Varvaro (1-1) was the losing pitcher after he allowed two runs in one-third inning.
Braves starter Aaron Harang pitched six innings of two-run ball and has allowed two runs or less in nine of his 11 starts. He struck out seven.
“Aaron was terrific,” Gonzalez said. “Two runs against a lineup that’s starting to get hot.”
The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Third baseman Brock Holt led off with a single, extending his hitting streak to eight games. Holt advanced to second when Braves third baseman Chris Johnson bobbled a ground ball and was charged with an error. Holt took third on a wild pitch and scored when second baseman Dustin Pedroia smashed a sacrifice fly to left field.
The Braves evened the score in the bottom of the first when right fielder Jason Heyward led off with his fourth home run.
After failing to score with the bases loaded and no outs in the second inning, the Braves tacked on a single run in the third to go ahead 2-1. Center fielder B.J. Upton led off with a double, advanced to third with one out on left fielder Justin Upton’s infield single and scored on Johnson’s sacrifice fly to center field.
The Red Sox tied it 2-2 in the fourth. Sizemore doubled, stole second and scored on a single by Ross.
Atlanta reclaimed the lead in the fifth. First baseman Freddie Freeman led off with a triple and Justin Upton walked. Johnson lobbed a fly ball that dropped in front of right fielder Jonny Gomes, who was able to recover and throw out Upton at second base for the fielder’s choice.
NOTES: Atlanta shortstop Andrelton Simmons left the game in the top of the eighth inning with right ankle inflammation and is listed as day-to-day. … Braves C Evan Gattis was scratched from the lineup minutes before the first pitch because of a right wrist strain suffered during batting practice. … Atlanta LF Justin Upton extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a first-inning single. … Atlanta lost an appeal in the fourth inning. The Braves claimed Boston LF Grady Sizemore was out trying to steal third base, but video evidence was insufficient to overturn the call. The review took 2:35. … Atlanta RHP Jordan Walden (hamstring) will report to Orlando to start his rehab process, beginning with running and long-tossing and continuing with throwing a bullpen session and possibly a minor league rehab appearance. He is not expected back until late June. … Atlanta signed RHP Kameron Loe to a minor league contract. Loe, 32, was with the San Francisco Giants during spring training after appearing in nine games with the Braves last year. … The final two games of the series will be Wednesday and Thursday at Fenway Park. Atlanta holds a 16-11 series lead in games played in Boston.