ATLANTA (AP) — Rick Porcello found the right arm slot in spring training. He hasn’t lost since.
Porcello combined with three relievers on a four-hitter, Jackie Bradley Jr. hit his first homer and the Boston Red Sox shut out Atlanta 1-0 on Monday night, giving the punchless Braves their sixth straight loss.
The Braves’ home-run drought reached 14 games, matching the longest streak in their Atlanta history.
Porcello (4-0) won his fourth straight start, allowing only four hits with two walks. The right-hander said he is pitching with confidence after finding his comfortable slot in spring training.
“It feels good that I’m not out there searching for something and trying to make an adjustment during a game,” Porcello said.
Porcello gave up a double to Jeff Francoeur with one out in the seventh and left the game after walking Freddie Freeman. Robbie Ross Jr. stranded runners on first and third by striking out pinch-hitter Erick Aybar to end the inning.
Julio Teheran (0-3) allowed only two hits before Bradley pulled a belt-high changeup over the right field wall for his first homer in the seventh.
Bradley delivered the decisive hit for the second straight game. He had the tie-breaking single in the 12th inning of a 7-5 win at Houston late Sunday night.
The Braves hit their last home run on April 10 and have only three for the season, easily the fewest in the majors.
The Braves also went 14 games without a homer Sept. 11-26, 1970, their fifth season in Atlanta. They haven’t had a longer span without a homer since a 16-game streak in September, 1946, when they were based in Boston, according to STATS.
Closer Craig Kimbrel, returning to his former Atlanta home, struck out Freeman to cap a perfect ninth for his sixth save — one night after his first blown save.
Teheran allowed one run on six hits and three walks in seven innings. He set a season high with eight strikeouts.
“That’s the first time I’ve felt like this this year,” Teheran said. “I think that I had everything working today, other than that one mistake that I made in the seventh inning.”
Freeman hit sixth in a start for the first time since 2012. Adonis Garcia hit third and A.J. Pierzynski hit fourth.
Freeman, the normal No. 3 hitter, took a .177 average into the game and had two hits with a walk. One of the hits was a bunt single toward third base against a defensive shift.
The move down in the order is expected to be temporary.
A large turnout of Red Sox fans cheered when David Ortiz was used as a pinch-hitter in the ninth, possibly sensing their last chance to see the slugger before he retires. Arodys Vizcaino struck out Ortiz. The Red Sox also rested Hanley Ramirez after arriving at their team hotel in Atlanta at 5:30 a.m. following Sunday night’s late game.
TIME FOR A NEW GLOVE
Gonzalez revealed a plan to move Garcia from third base to start in left field against right-handers.
Garcia is hitting .313 but has a team-high seven errors at third base, including a throwing error to first after fielding a grounder by Porcello in the fifth.
Asked what would be his expectation for Garcia’s defense in left field, manager Fredi Gonzalez said “Get three hits and drive in four.”
The plans will change when OF Ender Inciarte (hamstring) returns from the disabled list in about two weeks.
Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (dislocated right kneecap) will make his first rehab assignment on Thursday, but the location is uncertain due to spotty weather forecasts.
Red Sox: LHP David Price (2-0, 7.06) will try to continue his record of success against Atlanta on Tuesday night. Price is 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA in three starts against the Braves, allowing no more than two runs in each start.
Braves: RHP Matt Wisler (0-1, 3.10) will face the Red Sox for the first time on Tuesday night. Wisler was 0-2 with a 4.24 ERA in three starts against AL teams in 2015.