BOSTON (AP) — Red Sox manager John Farrell called a pregame meeting with his struggling team.
It didn’t help.
Boston went out and lost its season-high seventh straight, falling 4-2 to the Atlanta Braves on Monday night.
“We’ve got a good team. I’ve been in tough situations before,” third baseman Pablo Sandoval said. “We need to stick together and play hard.”
The Red Sox were the favorites to win the AL East after finishing last in 2014. Instead, they dropped to 27-38 and are nine games out in the division.
Farrell was asked before the game if he has heard the fans calling for him to be fired. He said, “That comes with the territory.”
He wouldn’t say what was discussed at the meeting. He said he just wants to make sure his players are supporting each other.
“I’m not really disappointed,” center fielder Mookie Betts said after the loss. “A long season, we’ve got a long ways to go.”
Rick Porcello (4-7) allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings. The Red Sox were swept in Baltimore and then at home by Toronto and need a win on Tuesday afternoon to avoid a sweep in this two-game interleague series.
“You have to ask each guy. I can’t speak for everyone,” Porcello said when asked if they were pressing. “You have to focus on the task in hand and do your job.”
Williams Perez pitched six shutout innings for the Braves, who came in having lost three of four.
Just two days after picking up his first career save in an emergency relief appearance, Perez (3-0) allowed five hits and two walks, striking out two. He has made six major league starts and allowed one run or none in five of them.
Jason Grilli pitched the ninth for his 17th save. He retired David Ortiz on a long flyball before Sandoval hit his second double of the game with two outs. Mike Napoli reached on an error, and Mookie Betts singled in a run — his third hit of the game — to make it 4-2.
But pinch-hitter Alejandro De Aza grounded weakly back to the mound to end it.
Nick Markakis, Juan Uribe and A.J. Pierzynski each had two of Atlanta’s nine singles.
Sandoval reached 1,000 career hits and 201 doubles. Dustin Pedroia also had two hits, and Xander Bogaerts hit a solo homer in the seventh.
Porcello walked one and struck out five but also hit a batter and threw two wild pitches. He gave up three straight singles in the fourth and the Braves scored three times.
Freddie Freeman singled with one out, stole second and scored on Markakis’ single. Uribe singled, then one out later Markakis scored on a wild pitch. Pierzynski singled to make it 3-0.
Kelly Johnson singled and scored in the seventh to give Atlanta a 4-0 lead before Bogaerts hit his first homer since May 20.
THE WRONG WAY
It’s Boston’s longest losing streak since dropping eight straight last August.
Pedroia had two hits and a walk after speaking up before the game that he has faith in his teammates.
“That’s the competitor he is, couple of base hits and gets on with a walk — on base three times,” Farrell said. “He gives you everything he’s got everyday he’s on the field.”
Braves: Atlanta promoted C Ryan Lavarnway from Triple-A and recalled RHP Sugar Ray Marimon. C Christian Bethancourt and OF Todd Cunningham were optioned to Gwinnett of the International League.
Red Sox: Napoli returned to the lineup after getting two days off to rest. He entered the game batting .200, and was moved to the No. 7 spot in the order. The Red Sox activated LHP Craig Breslow from the paternity list and recalled Robbie Ross Jr. from Triple-A. INF Travis Shaw was optioned to Pawtucket and INF Jeff Bianchi was designated for assignment.
Red Sox: After the game, the club announced that RHP Brandon Workman underwent Tommy John surgery.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (4-2) will be facing the Red Sox for the first time.
Red Sox: LHP Miley (5-6) will make his first start since having a screaming match with manager John Farrell in the dugout during Thursday’s game against Baltimore.