Jon Lester put together another marquee outing Saturday, leading the
Red Sox to a 5-1 win over the Yankees (Boston Herald photo)
A rolling stone gathers no loss.
That’s been the adage that best suits the Red Sox so far in September.
On Saturday, Boston improved to 91-59 on the year and 10-3 in September, beating the visiting Yankees 5-1 to take the second round of the three-game series.
In winning, the Sox claimed their MLB-leading 33rd series win of the season and eighth in a row, cut New York’s elimination number in the American League East Division to two games and took a 12-6 advantage in the season series.
The AL East-leading Sox also temporarily moved nine games up on the second-place Tampa Bay Rays, who face the Twins in Minnesota later in the day, and lowered their magic number to claim the division crown to six. With a Rays loss, it would drop to five.
Jon Lester was in fine form for eight innings, getting 13 outs via the ground ball and allowing only one run on three hits while striking out five to move to 14-8 and lower his ERA to 3.75. Franklin Morales came on in the ninth and followed Lester's lead, retiring the Yankees 1-2-3 to shut the door.
It was a banner day for Lester on the mound on another front — it marked the 218th start for Lester, putting him ahead of Bruce Hurst for second-most career starts by a Red Sox lefthander behind only Mel Parnell’s 232.
Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes all had two-hit days at the dish as the Sox out-hit the Yankees 9-3, while five different players — Victorino, Gomes, David Ortiz, Daniel Nava and Will Middlebrooks — drove in the five Boston runs. Victorino also stole his 21st base of the season in the sixth inning off starter CC Sabathia. As a team, the Red Sox haven’t been thrown out since Aug. 8.
Sabathia was tagged for five runs on nine hits and four walks in six innings of work and took the loss to fall to 13-13 with a 4.90 ERA. Curtis Granderson recorded the only multi-hit outing for the New York offence, while designated hitter Alex Rodriguez had another 0-for-3 day at the plate.
Here are the four at-bats that changed the game:
1) Double Shuffle: In the third with Boston owning a 1-0 lead, David Ortiz hit his third double in two games and 36th of the season to drive in Dustin Pedroia from second and put the Sox up 2-0.
2) Fear The Beard: Still in the third, Jonny Gomes ripped a single to left to cash in Big Papi and give the home team a 3-0 lead.
3) Shane Reigns: In the fourth, Shane Victorino singled to left to drive in David Ross from third for his 58th RBI of the season, giving Boston a 4-1 lead.
4) Savvy Nava: In the fifth, Daniel Nava lifted a sacrifice fly just deep enough to center to allow Mike Napoli to race home from third and fix the score 5-1 in Boston’s favor.
Tomorrow night, Red Sox ace Clay Buchholz (10-0, 1.61 ERA), who had been out since early June with a shoulder injury, makes his second start since returning from the disabled list and is set to face Ivan Nova, 8-4 with a 3.17 ERA for New York in 2013.