BOSTON – The Red Sox continued their dominance over the Yankees this season, with a 5-1 win at Fenway Park Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Sox improve to 12-6 over the Yankees this season, with the season series finale Sunday night.
John Lester earned the win, improving to 14-8, lowering his ERA from 3.86 to 3.75. He went eight innings, giving up one run on three hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He threw 115 pitches, 79 for strikes.
Lester was perfect against the Yankees through the first three innings. He did not allow a base runner until Curtis Granderson’s lead-off triple in the fourth. Granderson scored on Robinson Cano’s groundout for the Yankees only run of the game.
Yankees lefty CC Sabathia took the loss, falling 13-13, with a 4.90 ERA. He went six innings, giving up five runs on nine hits and four walks with five strikeouts.
The Sox used some small ball for their early runs. They used a sacrifice bunt in the second and third innings to manufacture runs. It was the first time this season the Sox have employed more than one a sacrifice bunt in a game.
After Mike Napoli opened the second reaching on a two-base error by Yankees third baseman Mark Reynolds, Jonny Gomes walked, and both runners moved up on Daniel Nava’s bunt. Will Middlebrooks’ ground out scored Napoli.
In the second, Dustin Pedroia led off with a single, taking second on Victorino’s sacrifice bunt. David Ortiz’s double scored Pedroia. Napoli and Gomes connected on consecutive singles to score Ortiz.
The Sox added single runs in the fourth and the fifth.
Left-hander Franklin Morales pitched a perfect ninth inning.
STAR OF THE GAME: Jon Lester
Lester was perfect through the first three innings. He did not allow a baserunner until Curtis Granderson’s triple leading off the fourth inning. Lester earned the win, improving to 14-8, lowering his ERA from 3.86 to 3.75. He went eight innings, giving up one run on three hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He threw 115 pitches, 79 for strikes.
In his last two starts, both against the Yankees, he has given up just four runs in 16 innings for a 2.25 ERA.
Since Aug. 8, he has posted a quality start in all eight starts, one game shy of his career longest streak. In that span he has a 1.86 ERA, allowing 12 earned runs in 58 innings.
HONORABLE MENTION: Mike Napoli
Napoli reached base in all four plate appearances, going 2-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored. Since Aug. 31 he has reached base in 27 of 48 plate appearances, with 16 hits and 11 walks, for a .563 on-base percentage. In his last eight starts he is batting .448, going 13-for-29.
THE GOAT: CC Sabathia
Sabathia took the loss, falling 13-13, with a 4.90 ERA. He went six innings, giving up five runs on nine hits and four walks with five strikeouts.
In five starts against the Sox this season, he has posted an ERA of 7.22, giving up 23 earned runs in 28 2/3 innings, allowing at least four runs in four of those starts.
THE TURNING POINT
With the Red Sox leading by three runs, Granderson led off the fourth with a triple, the Yankees first baserunner against Lester. Granderson eventually scored, but the Yankees could not extend the inning. The Sox came back in the bottom of the inning with another run off Sabathia.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Sox are a season-high 32 games over .500. It is their most games above .500 since ending the 2004 season at 98-64.
QUOTE OF NOTE
“We need to take care of first things first. If the opportunity is there to pull guys back a little bit, we’ll take advantage of that, but not until we get there.” – Manager John Farrell, if he would take starting pitchers out of games early, to preserve them for the post-season