Yankees break through against Sox

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Yankees break through against Sox

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON That the Red Sox and Yankees will play in the postseason is virtually a given. That they will face each other is almost a foregone conclusion in certain quadrants, anyway. After 110 games and more than four months of play, the Sox and Yankees entered Friday nights game at Fenway Park with identical 68-42 records.

Head-to-head, though, the Sox had easily thumped their only legitimate challenger for American League East supremacy. Holding an 8-1 edge, they had not lost to the Yankees since their second meeting of the season, on April 9, sweeping two three-game series in the Bronx and May and June.

Sox starter Jon Lester had been just as dominant against the Yankees. He entered the game with a record of 2-0 in two starts this season, going 5-0 in his last five starts with a 2.51 ERA since May 9, 2010.

The odds appeared to favor the Sox. But the Yankees entered the game winners of seven straight. Since the two teams last met, the Yankees had gone 35-15, a .700 winning percentage, best in the AL in that time. It could only be a matter of time before the Yankees added to their win total against the Red Sox.

That time was Friday night, as the Yankees beat the Red Sox, 3-2, handing Lester his fifth loss of the season. With the win, the Yankees regained sole possession of first place in the division, knocking the Sox to second place for the first time since July 6. It is the seventh time this season the two teams have exchanged the division lead this season.

But it is only one win. Or is it?

its important because weve had some troubles pitching to this club, said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Theyve scored some runs off us. To be able to make some pitches like we did tonight, I thought it was important for our club.

We dont care what weve done before this, said Derek Jeter. It has no bearing. Percentages are probably on our side to win a game, right? But we cant worry about how we played against them earlier in the season. We feel as though were playing well, were pitching well. Yeah, its a big win because we want to continue to play well but no one in here has talked about what happened earlier in the year.

The Yankees who had just five hits in the game -- got to Lester for three runs in the sixth inning, sending seven batters to the plate, with the first four reaching base. No. 9 batter Eduardo Nunez led off with a walk, followed by a Jeter single, Curtis Grandersons single scoring Nunez, and Mark Teixeiras walk to load the bases. Robinson Cano grounded into a double play, scoring Jeter, and Nick Swisher hit a ground-rule double, scoring Granderson, before Andruw Jones grounded out to end the inning.

Lester, who needed just 11 pitches to get through the first inning, threw 35 pitches in the sixth.

I was aware we were having good at-bats, Jeter said. I think thats the key. I dont think anyone was looking at his pitch count. But we were having good at-bats, starting with Nunie getting that walk, and after that we strung together some good ABs. But Lesters a handful and we were fortunate to get those runs off him.

Lester (11-5, 3.23 ERA) went six innings, giving up three runs on five hits and four walks with seven strikeouts. He threw 108 pitches, 64 strikes. The four walks were one shy of his season-high. He has allowed five walks twice this season, the last time in a May 30 loss to the White Sox.

The key to the sixth inning was Nunezs at-bat, said Granderson. The fact that he was able to draw a 3-2 walk after fouling off some really tough pitches. I think he threw pretty much any and everything at him. Derek got his first hit of the ball game. I got my first hit. Nunez read it really well and was able to go ahead and score and then Tex drew a walk after that and then I think the thing that sealed the deal was Swishers two-out hit right there. You could easily go ahead and say, OK, we got two there and tied it, lets see if we can score some more. But Swishers been swinging the bat well and delivers the ball right out of the reach of Kevin Youkilis that allowed me to score.

The way weve been playing, it did provide a lot of confidence for us.

Boone Logan (3-2, 3.07) picked up the win. He went one scoreless inning, giving up a hit with two strikeouts. Entering the game with two outs, the bases loaded, and the Yankees trailing, 2-0, in the fifth, he virtually delivered the win, striking out Adrian Gonzalez (whose 11 RBI against the Yankees this season are the most by any opposing hitter) on three pitches, minimizing his teams deficit.

A lefties a lefty and thats a big situation, no matter whos at the palte. Logan said. You cant think of it like its Gonzalez at the dish. if you do, thats when you can probably get in trouble.

The inning he gave us was huge, Girardi said. That strikeout of Gonzalez, who has been a great hitter all year and for a long time, was huge. There were bases loaded. There was no room for error on Boones part. He was aggressive and he expanded the zone when he had the chance.

With the win, the Yankees are atop the AL East by themselves, with the best record in the league. The two teams play eight more games before the end of the season.

You take these two titans and clash them up every day, it's a lot of fun to be a part of, said Swisher.

I think it's still early right now. It is a good accomplishment for where we have been and the things we have dealt with. We've had guys banged up with all season long. Guys have stepped in and did a tremendous job.

And what does first place mean?

Its better to be in first than to be in second, third, or fourth, Jeter said. But we just want to continue to play well.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Eduardo Rodriguez strong, Red Sox down Mariners for 5th straight win

Eduardo Rodriguez strong, Red Sox down Mariners for 5th straight win

BOSTON (AP)  Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six scoreless innings and the Boston Red Sox took advantage of a sloppy performance by the Seattle Mariners to earn their season-high fifth straight win, 3-0 on Friday night.

It was the third consecutive win for Rodriguez (4-1), who went six innings, gave up just five hits and struck out four while throwing a season-high 112 pitches. Craig Kimbrel earned his 13th save.

Rodriguez has pitched at least six innings in his last seven starts, going 4-0 in that span.

The only run support Rodriguez needed came in the second inning, when Hanley Ramirez scored on Josh Rutledge's RBI groundout. Boston added two more runs in the sixth, scoring on a wild pitch and passed ball.

Yovani Gallardo (2-5) took the loss. He lasted 5 1/3 innings, gave up seven hits and was responsible for all three of Boston's runs. Seattle has won just one of its last seven.

Meanwhile, Boston gave Rodriguez got lots of help from his defense. Jackie Bradley Jr. had a pair of nice plays, getting an outfield assist in the second and running down another ball on the warning track in the sixth.

In addition to the pitching miscues, the Mariners had all kinds of issues in the wet conditions, committing two fielding errors.

The Red Sox left 11 runners on base, leaving the door open for the Mariners to get back in the game. But Seattle couldn't capitalize, going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. The Mariners also left seven runners stranded.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (strained left forearm) was slated to make a rehab start Friday night in Double-A Arkansas. He has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 5. He could be activated for a start at the end of the month against Colorado.

Red Sox: Infielder Marco Hernandez will be out the remainder of the season after undergoing stabilization surgery on his left shoulder on Friday. Hernandez was placed on the disabled list May 4 with a left shoulder misalignment. The 24-year-old hit .276 with two RBI in 21 games. ... A night after he left the game with left knee pain, 2B Dustin Pedroia was held out Friday for what manager John Farrell said was "precautionary reasons" because of the wet playing surface.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Rob Whalen (0-2, 4.09 ERA in Triple-A Tacoma) will be making his major league start since last season with Atlanta. He will be 12th different starting pitcher the Mariners have used this season.

Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) will be making his second major league start this year and third of his career.

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More AP baseball:https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Pedroia (knee) out of lineup again after leaving game early Thursday

Pedroia (knee) out of lineup again after leaving game early Thursday

Dustin Pedroia is out of the lineup again tonight after leaving the Red Sox game Thursday night with knee pain in the fifth inning.

Josh Rutledge will start at second base as the Sox open a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.  

The weather and sloppy field conditions were a factor in John Farrell deciding to get Pedroia out of the game Thursday and conditions haven’t improved significantly Friday. 

Pedroia (.288, two homers, 21 RBI) had surgery on that knee in October. It's the same leg that was hurt when Manny Machado slid into Pedroia at second base in April, the slide that sparked the plunking war between the Orioles and Red Sox.

The full lineups: 

MARINERS
Jean Segura SS
Guillermo Heredia CF
Robinson Canó 2B
Nelson Cruz DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Danny Valencia 1B
Taylor Motter LF
Ben Gamel RF
Mike Zunino C

Yovanni Gallardo RHP

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Andrew Benintendi LF
Xander Bogaerts SS
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Josh Rutledge 2B
Jackie Bradley Jr CF
Christian Vazquez C
Deven Marrero 3B

Eduardo Rodriguez LHP