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Braves lose 3rd straight to Red Sox, blanked by Lackey, bullpen 4-0

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BOSTON - A change of ballparks and Gavin Floyd's previous success against Boston still couldn't halt the Atlanta Braves' losing streak against the Red Sox.

John Lackey pitched neatly into the seventh inning and the Red Sox beat the Braves for the third straight day, posting a 4-0 win on Wednesday night.

After the Braves dropped a pair at Turner Field, the teams moved to Fenway Park, where Atlanta lost in the opener of a two-game set.

Floyd (0-2) gave up two runs — one earned — in five innings and took his first career loss against the Red Sox after seven wins. He dropped to 3-1 in four starts at Fenway.

"He grinded out some innings, a 100-plus pitches in five innings," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He battled, really battled to keep us in that position. We got nine hits, left all kinds of people on base. We just couldn't get that next one."

Making just his fifth start of the season after 2013 was cut short because of elbow reconstructive surgery, Floyd was satisfied with how he felt but bothered by his team's result.

"It seemed like today a couple of things didn't go our way. You just try to keep zeros up and try to keep the team as close as you could," he said. "I want to win. When I'm pitching, I want our team to win. Obviously, I feel fine. I feel good."

A bright spot for the Braves was second baseman Tommy La Stella, who had two singles in his major league debut. He was promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett earlier in the day.

"Relief. It was nice to get that first (hit) out of the way in the first couple of at-bats," he said.

It was Boston's third straight victory after its longest losing streak in 20 years.

The Red Sox honoured Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling and members of their 2004 World Series championship team before the game, then put on another winning performance at Fenway.

Jackie Bradley Jr., A.J. Pierzynski and Jonny Gomes each had had two hits and an RBI as the Red Sox extended their mastery over the Braves. Boston is 18-6 since 2005 against Atlanta.

Lackey (6-3) combined with three relievers for Boston's first shutout of the season. He gave up eight hits, struck out nine and walked none in 6 1-3 innings.

Boston's winning string has come after a 10-game skid.

Lackey allowed more than one baserunner in just two innings. He has permitted two earned runs or less in eight of his 12 starts.

Boston went ahead 1-0 in the second inning when Gomes led off with a single and kept going to second on a throwing error by shortstop Ramiro Pena. Gomes took third on a wild pitch before Grady Sizemore walked, and scored when Daniel Nava grounded into a double play.

The Red Sox added a run in the third on a double by Xander Bogaerts, one of his three hits, and singles by David Ortiz and Pierzynski.

Boston made it 3-0 in the sixth against reliever Alex Wood when Gomes walked, took second on a single by Sizemore and scored on a double by Bradley. In Tuesday night's 6-3 win, Bradley hit a two-run single in a four-run seventh when Boston took the lead.

The Red Sox reached Wood for another run in the seventh on an RBI single by Gomes after singles by Dustin Pedroia and Pierzynski.

In each of his first six innings, Lackey had at least one strikeout and didn't allow a runner past second base. He retired the first hitter in the seventh, then allowed singles to La Stella and Pena that put runners at first and third.

Lackey left after throwing 105 pitches. Chris Capuano retired Jason Heyward on a groundout to second as the runners advanced to second and third. Heyward's bat broke and Capuano fell on his back as he just avoided being hit by a broke piece.

Capuano walked B.J. Upton, loading the bases, before getting Freddie Freeman to end the threat with a grounder.

Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow completed the victory with one scoreless inning each.

NOTES: More than 30 members of the 2004 Red Sox attended the pregame ceremony. ... Atlanta C Evan Gattis returned to the starting lineup after missing Tuesday night's loss when he strained his right wrist during batting practice. ... Braves SS Andrelton Simmons missed the game after leaving Tuesday night's loss with an inflamed right ankle. ... Boston's Jake Peavy (1-2) pitches the finale of the two-game series against Mike Minor (2-3) on Thursday night.

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