NEW YORK -- After a seven-day layoff and a stretch of starts in which he looked shaky, Jon Lester didn't exactly dazzle the New York Yankees Tuesday night.
But he was good enough.
Lester allowed three runs over six innings and overcame some early-inning wildness (a walk and two hits batsman in the first) and improved to 8-2 as the Red Sox beat the Yankees, 6-4.
The Sox scored three times in the first on a leadoff homer by Jacoby Ellsbury, an RBI triple from Adrian Gonzalez and a sacrifice fly from Kevin Youkilis and chased New York starter Freddy Garcia in the second inning.
Dustin Pedroia doubled home another run in the second and David Ortiz cracked a two-run homer in the fifth.
The Sox pieced together the rest of the game with Matt Albers and Daniel Bard each turning in a scoreless inning. Jonathan Papelbon allowed a run in the ninth but still recorded the save, the 200th of Papelbon's career.
Bobby Jenks had started the seventh but was forced to leave in favor of Albers when he felt some tightness in his back.
With the win, the Sox improved to 6-1 against the Yankees this season and moved into a virtual tie for first place with their rivals.