Final: Red Sox 4, Yankees 1: Turns out that Lester's strong outing in Cleveland wasn't a fluke, at least not today. He picked up the win with seven strong innings against the same Yankees lineup that banged out five homers the night before.
Saturday afternoon, we saw Pedro Ciriaco go 4 for 4 and own New York pitching again. We saw an all-Yale battery. And we saw Adrian Gonzalez provide the difference with his two-run homer in the first.
Thanks for reading. Postgame blogs and notes to follow.
Bottom 9th: Red Sox 4, Yankees 1: After allowing a deep single to the pinch-hitting Chavez that landed at the left-field wall -- Crawford made a strong throw to hold Chavez at first -- Aceves settled down, getting Ibanez to bounce into a fielder's choice, striking out Granderson (2 for 2 up until that point), and getting Martin to fly out to right to end the game and pick up the save.
Top 9th: Red Sox 4, Yankees 1: Podsednik singled and moved up on Ciriaco's double (he's 4 for 4 tonight), and later scored on Eppley's wild pitch. But after Punto walked, Ellsbury grounded out and Ciriaco got thrown at home with the infield in on Crawford's fielder's choice. Former Sox pitcher Derek Lowe came in and got Pedroia to ground out to second.
For what it's worth: Ciriaco is hitting .517 lifetime against the Yankees, the best of any player besides Barry Bonds with at least 25 plate appearances over the past 55 years.
Aceves on to close.
Bottom 8th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: Bailey blew Jeter away with a 95-mph fastball but gave up Swisher's third hit today and got lifted in favor of Craig Breslow for the lefty-lefty matchup.
With the all-Yale battery working together, Breslow induced a double play from the struggling Cano to end the inning.
Top 8th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: Pedroia extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a one-out double, but after Gonzalez was intentionally walked, Cody Epply came on and struck out Ross looking and got Lavarnway to ground out into the shift to stop the rally and keep the deficit at two.
Lester is done. Andrew Bailey on for the Sox in a big situation.
Lester's line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 1 WP, 105 pitches, 61 strikes.
Bottom 7th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: Huge inning for Lester. Granderson doubled to lead off the inning and advanced on the throw when Martin grounded out to third. But a shallow flyout to Nix in right wasn't enough to score him, and neither was a weak Ichiro groundout to first.
Lester is likely done after seven and his pitch count at 105 as he slowly walked off the mound, tossed a ball to two kids behind the dugout, and was greeted by fist bumps as he went down the stairs.
Top 7th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: Ciriaco dropped a perfect bunt down the third-base line, and moved up to second when Punto grounded to first. That ended the day for Phelps, who gave way to Boone Logan. The lefty then struck out Ellsbury on three straight pitches.
The line for Phelps: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 95 pitches, 63 strikes.
Bottom 6th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: Lester works a perfect six against the middle of the Yankees order, his first three-up/three-down inning this afternoon. Cano and McGehee both grounded out to second, and Jones flied out to left.
Top 6th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: Phelps has seven strikeouts today, one away from his career-high, after fanning Ross (for the third time today) and Lavarnway, leaving Gonzalez on first after he singled. Pedroia led off the inning and nearly decapitated Phelps, but Cano was there up the middle with the shift on.
Bottom 5th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: It's the Nick Punto Glove Show at third base today. He has seven assists this game, getting Nix on a routine ball to lead off the inning and making a nice stop on a hard-hit Jeter grounder. Lester did the rest, stranding Ichiro, who singled and stole second, with a cutter that broke down and in to fan Swisher.
Top 5th: Red Sox 3, Yankees 1: The bottom of the Sox order gets the run back. Ciriaco continues to rake against the Yankees, reaching on a single, and Punto cranked an RBI double down the right-field line, and moved to third when Jones booted the ball by the wall. With Punton 90 feet from a three-run Boston lead, Ellsbury and Crawford both grounded out to first.
Bottom 4th: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1: After Jones sharply grounded out to short, Lester had McGehee literally dropping to his knees on a curveball in the dirt to fan him for the second time today. But Granderson demolished his 32nd homer of the year to deep center to put the Yankees on the board. Punto's great diving stop on Martin ended the inning.
Top 4th: Red Sox 2, Yankees 0: Phelps has retired seven straight, avenging Gonzalez's homer with a weak grounder to second, striking out Ross swinging for the second time today, and inducing an inning-ending flyout from Lavarnway.
Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 2, Yankees 0: Ichiro grounded out to third, Jeter bounced out to short, and after Swisher singled and moved up on a wild pitch, Cano got under a curveball and flied out to center.
Top 3rd: Red Sox 2, Yankees 0: Solid inning for Phelps, who gets Ellsbury (lineout to third), Crawford (strikeout looking), Pedroia (popout to right) in order.
Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 2, Yankees 0: Lester again walked the leadoff hitter, but this time got Martin to bounce into an awkward double play. Punto got high-hopped at third, and his throw pulled Pedroia off the base, but the Sox completed it and bailed out Lester. Punto then made a long throw to nail Nix for the third out.
Top 2nd: Red Sox 2, Yankees 0: Leading off the inning, Lavarnway nearly took off Phelps' head, but the pitcher ducked in time and Cano made a nice backhanded stop up the middle. After Podsednik flied out to left, Ciriaco singled down the right-field line and promptly stole second, Boston's second swiped base today off Martin. Punto then got rung up with Ciriaco in scoring position.
Bottom 1st: Red Sox 2, Yankees 0: Lester opened the game with a five-pitch walk to Jeter, and got visits from both Pedroia and Lavarnway after falling behind 2-0 against Swisher, who eventually ripped a line-drive single to left.
After that? Lester mowed through Cano with a nasty cutter that broke away from the left-hander, got Jones on a weak grounder to third, and got McGehee flailing at another cutter tailing low and inside.
Save that hiccup in the beginning, when Lester had a major problem finding the zone, he settled down and looked strong.
Top 1st: Red Sox 2, Yankees 0: Sox strike first thanks to two of their hottest hitters. Crawford poked a single through the infield and Gonzalez ripped an opposite-field two-run homer, his 14th of the season, and 39th RBI since the All-Star break.
Pregame: The Yankees tagged Franklin Morales for four solo homers in Friday night's series-opening win, and will field the exact same lineup Saturday against the Sox and starter Jon Lester (6-10, 5.20 ERA). New York counters with David Phelps (3-3, 2.53 ERA), making his second straight start (and fifth of his career) after allowing six hits and two runs over five innings against Texas on Aug. 13.
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