ATLANTA — Julian Tavarez pitched seven scoreless innings, switching to cruise control after the Boston Red Sox homered three times in the first two innings on the way to routing the Atlanta Braves 11-0 on Wednesday night.
J.D. Drew drove the fourth pitch of the game into the center-field seats, a sign of things to come for the Red Sox. They had five homers in all, and 10 of their 15 hits were for extra bases.
For Atlanta, it was another dismal night at the plate. The Braves were shut out by the Red Sox for the second night in a row and haven’t scored in 19 innings.
Before the first was done, Coco Crisp hit a three-run homer off Buddy Carlyle — the outfielder’s third long ball of the series — to stake Tavarez to a 5-0 lead. David Ortiz kept up the barrage the next inning with a two-run shot, his second homer in as many days.
Tavarez (5-4) could coast with the seven-run cushion, and that’s just what he did in winning his fourth straight. He allowed only three hits and faced the minimum through the first six innings. Willie Harris and Chipper Jones reached on singles, but both were erased with double plays.
In the seventh, Atlanta finally got someone into scoring position for the first time all night. But shortstop Julio Lugo fielded a grounder in short left and threw back to second base for an inning-ending force.
Tavarez pumped his right fist and hopped toward the dugout, the shutout preserved on his final pitch of the game.
After starting 1-3, the right-hander has pitched well out of the fifth slot. Tavarez is 4-0 with a 3.65 ERA over his last seven starts, an encouraging sign for a team that may need him to take on a bigger role while Curt Schilling is on the disabled list.
Schilling returned to Boston for an MRI exam after two straight poor starts. While the exam showed no major problems, he received a cortisone shot for suspected tendinitis and will go on the 15-day DL when the Red Sox get to San Diego for a series this weekend.
Manny Ramirez and Eric Hinske also homered for the Red Sox, long after they knocked out Carlyle (1-2). The journeyman right-hander had pitched decently in three straight outings, but he was no match for Boston’s powerful lineup.
Carlyle lasted just 3 2-3 innings, giving up seven runs and nine hits with three walks. There was nothing fluky about his dismal line — in addition to serving up three homers, he also surrendered four doubles.
Crisp delivered the biggest blow with two outs in the first, driving one into the right-field seats just two nights after the first two-homer game of his career.
Boston scored all but two of its runs with the long ball. Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia drove in the other two with RBI doubles.
Notes: Drew left the game in the bottom half of the second when his right quadriceps tightened. It was a precautionary move more than anything else with the Red Sox leading 7-0 and Drew plagued by injuries throughout his career. ... Braves CF Andruw Jones, mired in an 0-for-18 slump that dropped his average to .202, took the night off. Harris moved over from left field and made a Jones-like catch in the eighth, diving to take away a hit from Lugo. ... Braves RHP Joey Devine pitched an inning after being recalled from Double-A Mississippi before the game.