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Renteria riding out a rough time

Shortstop continues to struggle with bat, glove

The frustration is mounting for Edgar Renteria.

Friday night, he left seven men on base. Last night, his weekend didn't get any better in the Red Sox' 7-5 loss to Atlanta, and the shortstop had left the clubhouse when media entered after the game.

Renteria mishandled a grounder from Rafael Furcal, the first batter of the game. He popped to short with two runners on in the third, and struck out with Johnny Damon aboard in the fifth. His throwing error in the sixth -- his eighth error of the season -- led to another Atlanta run.

Renteria scored after stroking a double to right-center in the seventh, but in the ninth, he was called out on strikes by plate umpire Andy Fletcher and was quickly ejected after voicing his displeasure with the call.

Fletcher is the same umpire who, from his first base position Friday night, gave Braves second baseman Marcus Giles the heave-ho after he called him out on a check swing. Fletcher nearly sent David Ortiz to the showers in the first inning last night after Ortiz was called out on strikes.

''I think Edgar, and David earlier in the game [weren't happy with the strike zone]," said Sox manager Terry Francona. ''We take so much pride making pitchers come onto the plate and I think they both thought those balls were a little off. And when they get pitches they feel are a little off, especially with runners on base, it's frustrating for them. It's frustrating for all of us."

And that's not taking anything away from Braves rookie Kyle Davies, who earned a victory in his major league debut. ''The kid's got good stuff. He had good location. But he had a big strike zone tonight and that makes it tougher for us," said Ortiz. ''[Renteria will] be fine. He just had a tough night.

''When things are not going well and you are a good player, frustrations are going to come up. This wasn't the first time and it won't be the last time he will be frustrated. Everybody gets booed and that's OK, but when it's the home team, it just gets in the way. People just might want to take it easy on him. I know we have the best fans in the house and I know they are going to understand. He'll get back to a groove."

Jason Varitek also is optimistic the Red Sox and Renteria will turn it around. ''I just know," he said. ''Guys will start getting their hits.

''[Renteria] is working his butt off. He wants to be the player we know he is capable of being. We all have a ton of confidence in Edgar. He is going to do well for this team. We need him to do well for this team. He's been a very clutch player everywhere he has been and he will be here, too."

Varitek said Renteria ''is a tremendous teammate. He's a great guy to talk about baseball. He has so many things to offer. He is a great baseball player. You can see it in the way he plays. He just needs some good things to happen."

The Red Sox captain also admires Renteria's work ethic. ''Just follow him around for a day. See the work he puts in," said Varitek. ''He set that example in spring training. He grabbed Hanley Ramirez and told him that he has to do his workouts. To a young guy like Hanley, he really pulled him along and showed him what it takes to be a great shortstop. We just haven't seen Edgar's true game yet."

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