NEW YORK -- His velocity down sharply, his hits allowed up and his history against the Red Sox decidedly average, CC Sabathia wasn't supposed to dominate Friday night.
But he did, allowing just a single run over 7 1/3 innings, helping the New York Yankees snap a five-game losing streak by beating the Red Sox, 4-1.
New York's win shaved the Red Sox' lead in the American League East to a single game.
Sabathia had been winless in the month of May before Friday night, but struck out 10 -- tying a season high -- without walking a batter. The Red Sox managed just six hits off him.
Jon Lester, who outdueled Sabathia on Opening Day, wasn't as sharp, issuing four walks while also hitting a batter in suffering his second loss in his last three starts.
The Yankees gave Sabathia all the offensive backing he would need in the second when Mark Teixeira, making his season debut following a spring wrist injury, drew a walk, took third on a double by Vernon Wells and scored on a single from Jayson Nix.
Ichiro Suzuki then singled home Wells with one out.
The lead stretched to 3-0 in the fifth when a hit batsman, fielder's choice and a walk gave the Yankees two baserunners and Kevin Youkilis singled home Suzuki.
The Sox' only run came in the seventh on doubles from Dustin Pedroia (three hits) and Mike Napoli.
After the Yankees tacked on a run in the seventh, the Sox brought the potential tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth off Mariano Rivera. But Rivera, who blew his first save of the season earlier in the week during the Yanks' sweep at the hands of the crosstown Mets, got Mike Napoli swinging and Stephen Drew on a comebacker to strand two and record his 19th save.
AT A GLANCE
STAR OF THE GAME: CC Sabathia
The big lefty hadn't won in the month of May, but he looked like his old self Friday night, fanning 10 without issuing a walk and limiting the Red Sox to a solo run on just four hits over 7 1/3 innings.
HONORABLE MENTION: Ichiro Suzuki
Ichiro was on base three times, scored two of the four Yankee runs and knocked one of them in, providing some offense from the lower third of the New York batting order
GOAT OF THE GAME: Jon Lester
Lester saw his winless streak stretch to three starts, allowing four runs in 6 1/3 innings. His command was off, as he issued four walks and hit a batter, and he seemed to have particular problems pitching out of the stretch.
TURNING POINT: In the seventh, the Sox offense began to stir, with doubles form Pedroia and Mike Napoli producing the club's first run of the night. But with Napoli in scoring position, Sabathia fanned Stephen Drew and got David Ross to roll over to second.
BY THE NUMBERS: The loss by Lester was just his second in his last 10 starts at Yankee Stadium, dating back to the start of the 2010 season.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "Bad pitches, behind in the count, not commanding the baseball...the list goes on. It just wasn't a good night for me.'' - Jon Lester on his struggles.