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ATL@STL: Harang fans seven over six strong innings

The Turner Field mound is a scary place for left-handers with Braves left fielder Justin Upton standing in the batter's box.

Upton is hitting .400 (12-for-30) with six homers and nine walks in 40 plate appearances against southpaws. In 115 trips to the plate in Atlanta, he sports a .381 (37-for-97) average with a Major League-leading 10 home runs and 14 walks.

"Maybe when we go on the road, we'll just wear [home] white uniforms and trick him that way," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But he's a special talent and he can [produce] those kinds of numbers anywhere really."

Enter Red Sox lefty Jon Lester, who will take the hill opposite Braves righty Aaron Harang on Tuesday night. Lester is aiming to rebound from a rough outing against the Blue Jays.

Lester gave up 10 hits and seven runs over 6 1/3 innings. All the runs were scored in the first two innings.

"It's not fun going out there and giving up a bunch of hits. I'm trying to stop a losing streak, trying to win, trying to keep guys in the ballgame," Lester said after the start. "The list goes on and on of things I flat-out didn't do."

Despite his 4-6 record, Lester has had a strong season, giving up three earned runs or fewer in eight of his 10 starts.

Lester has also proven strong against right-handed batters. He ranks sixth among Major League lefties who have pitched at least 40 innings this season with a .240 batting average against with right-handed hitters at the plate.

But Upton got the best of Lester in their lone meeting on June 16, 2010, at Fenway Park. The left-hander gave up a two-run home run to Upton and little else in seven strong innings as the Red Sox beat the D-backs, 6-2.

In his other two plate appearances against Lester, Upton flied out to right field and walked, something the Braves have done quite a bit as of late. Atlanta ranked fifth in the Majors with 27 walks in the past seven days entering Monday before drawing eight bases on balls against Boston starter Clay Buchholz.

Lester, however, likely will not prove quite as wild. His 2.4 walks per nine innings in 10 starts is on pace to be a career-low rate.

Red Sox: Cherington vows team will rebound
• Despite the Red Sox going through their worst losing streak in 20 years, general manager Ben Cherington vowed before Monday's 8-6 win that the team will rediscover its winning ways.

"We know we still have the core of a winning team here and we're going to win," Cherington said. "But we've got to get there. We've got to focus on today and just try to start playing a little bit better first."

There are a lot of facets of the game to fix before the wins start coming consistently.

"I don't think we're excelling in any one area, but I do think we have players capable of excelling and some of that is going to happen naturally," said Cherington. "There are other things that maybe you can do at some point to try to make the whole thing a lot better. What we believed this offseason, what we believed in Spring Training, in terms of potential of this team, the position we're in with people in the clubhouse, the depth of the talent -- that hasn't changed. We just have to perform. We have to find ways to perform better, and that's going to come in a number of ways."

• Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia smacked a two-run double in the top of the fifth Monday for his 18th two-bagger of 2014. He is tied with Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe for the Major League lead.

Entering Monday, Pedroia was on pace for 56 doubles, a mark that would tie former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra's single-season output in 2002. Garciaparra's mark ranks second behind Earl Webb's club record of 67 in 1931.

Braves: Heyward getting on base
• Atlanta right fielder Jason Heyward has reached base safely in 15 of his past 16 games, a stretch that included an 11-game hitting streak -- the second-longest such streak of his career. He is hitting .310 (18-for-58) with a homer, eight runs scored, 10 walks and a .420 on-base percentage during the stretch.

• Catcher Gerald Laird is hitting .333 (6-for-18) with two doubles, two runs scored and four RBIs on the homestand. He has reached base safely in 12 of his 16 starts at catcher this season.

Worth noting
• B.J. Upton has faced Lester more than any other Braves player. He is hitting .200 (11-for-55) with two homers, four walks and 12 strikeouts against the lefty.

• Boston outfielder Grady Sizemore is hitting .409 (9-for-22) with three doubles, a triple, three walks and a strikeout in his career against Harang. Comments