Jon Lester pitched eight strong innings on Saturday afternoon as the Red Sox beat the New York Yankees, 5-1, before a sellout crowd of 37,510 at Fenway Park.
Lester (14-8) allowed one run on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts. The lefthander is 6-2 with a 2.38 earned run average in 11 starts since the All-Star break.
The Red Sox have won nine of their last 11 games and reduced their magic number to clinch the American League East to six pending the outcome of Tampa Bay’s game against Minnesota.
The Sox are 12-6 against the Yankees this season. The teams meet for the final time in the regular season on Sunday night with Clay Buchholz facing Ivan Nova.
At 91-59, the Red Sox are 32 games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 2004 season at 98-64.
Yankees starter CC Sabathia (13-13) allowed five runs on nine hits and four walks over six innings. He struck out five.
The Sox used small ball to take a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Mike Napoli reached on an infield single and took second on a throwing error by third baseman Mark Reynolds.
After Jonny Gomes walked, Daniel Nava bunted the runners over. A run scored when Will Middlebrooks grounded to shortstop.
David Ortiz had an RBI double and Gomes a run-scoring single in the third inning.
David Ross singled in the fourth inning and eventually scored on a two-out single by Shane Victorino.
Napoli, who was on base four times, walked in the fifth inning and took third on a double by Gomes. Nava’s sacrifice fly made it 5-1.
The run Lester allowed came in the fourth inning when Curtis Granderson tripled and scored on Robinson Cano’s grounder to first base.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.