Final, Red Sox Win 4-1: So, that's another huge step in the right direction for Jon Lester (7-10), who gives up just a single run in seven innings of work, scattering five hits and two walks.
Additionally, Pedro Ciriaco goes 4-for-4, including a double and his eighth stolen base.
With the win the Red Sox improve their record to 59-62, while the Yankees drop to 71-49. Lester picks up the win while David Phelps (3-4) gets saddled with the tough-luck loss.
Well, that's about it for us from your Red Sox Live Blog. Stick with us right here at NESN.com for all your postgame needs, and be sure to tune into NESN at 10 p.m. for NESN Daily. We'll be right back here with yet another live blog tomorrow evening, as the Red Sox and Yankees play the rubber game of their three-match set, with first pitch scheduled for a late 8:05 p.m. ET. You can also follow and Tweet at this live blogger at @ZachStoloff to talk Red Sox and all things MLB.
Until tomorrow, adios.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 4-1: Ciriaco just continues to be in the middle of it all when the Red Sox take on the Yankees. He won't get credit for a run scored or an RBI in that last half inning, but the infielder's double set up Podsednik to score on Eppley's wild pitch.
So, the Sox manage to push one insurance run across here in the ninth, but can't get across the runners at second and third with no outs.
So, on to the ninth, as Boston tries to make that three-run lead — and Jon Lester's stellar outing — stand up.
End 8th, Red Sox 3-1: As has been noted, this pitching change, with Craig Breslow coming in, marks the first time a pitcher-catcher battery has been an all-Yale duo since 1883.
Since this live blogger drove through New Haven just this morning, perhaps it's appropriate, but either such oddities are the reason we all continue to tune into baseball.
I wonder what the tandem's collective IQ is? For the record, Breslow majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, while Lavarnway majored in philosophy — good thing he had that baseball career to pick up the slack.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 3-1: With only a two-run lead and facing the ever-vaunted Yankees offense, you'd really like to see the Sox break through and add some insurance runs in that situation, but it was not to be.
Instead, credit Cody Eppley for getting Ross and Lavarnway in a key situation there, and leaving those inherited runner stranded on first and second.
We'll see if not pushing across those insurance runs hurts Boston as New York goes down to its final six outs.
End 7th, Red Sox 3-1: So, can we declare Jon Lester back?
As this live blogger mentioned earlier, it appears that Lester's mechanics (his arm slot, specifically) aren't quite back to where they were when he was at his peak, but it has seemed not to matter his last couple times on the hill.
Anyway, after 105 pitches the left-hander's day may well be done, but Lester put in a largely dominant start against one of the game's great offenses in one of the toughest hitters' parks in Major League Baseball. The only Yankee to do any real damage against him was Granderson, so credit Lester for returning to form.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 3-1: It's time to stretch, wherever you happen to be.
Despite giving up three runs on the evening, Phelps sure gave the Yankees a boost in the absence of CC Sabathia. The right-hander yielded seven hits over the course of his 6 2/3 innings pitched, but largely scattered those and didn't walk a batter. Perhaps a better metric of how well Phelps pitched is indicated by his seven strikeouts, getting consistent swings and misses.
End 6th, Red Sox 3-1: Neither pitcher has had a long roll of consecutive retired batters, rather the hits have been sprinkled in. Nonetheless, it just kind of feels like both pitchers are well in control of what they're trying to do on the hill, and are largely keeping the opposing hitters off balance.
Lester, in particular, has minimized the mistakes, keeping his misfires exclusively to a bad fastball to Curtis Granderson.
End 5th, Red Sox 3-1: Credit Punto with a great day all around at third base, adding to the day's acrobatics with that nice recovery play to get Jeter.
Aside from that, if you're watching the FOX telecast of the game, Tim McCarver made a rare valid point in that last half inning, but didn't complete the thought. The fact that Lester is getting so many batter to roll over on ground balls to the left side of the infield is indeed a sign that he's pitching well.
What it means is that the Yankees' right-handed bats are putting Lester's cutter into play but not staying inside the ball, driving it into the ground and not posing much of a threat.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 3-1: This live blogger questions Ciriaco's viability as a long-term option in the starting lineup, but one thing can't be debated: this guy absolutely owns the Yankees.
On the season, Ciriaco is now 13-for-27 against New York, and that includes a couple of game-winning hits back in July.
In that inning, it looked like just the threat of the 26-year-old's speed appeared to be a disruptor, with Phelps distracted just enough to leave a pitch out over the plate to Punto.
End 4th, Red Sox 2-1: That's about as much extension as you'll ever see from an infielder, so put an exclamation point next to that play in your scorebook — if you happen to be keeping a book, that is.
Otherwise, that sure wasn't a cheap home run — in fact, it would have been out likely at any park in baseball — but it's a reminder how quickly a game can change when you're pitching to the still-loaded Yankees lineup.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 2-0: So, save for Phelps' first inning, we're thoroughly locked in a pitcher's duel during the early stages of this game.
That would be a rarity for New Yankee Stadium, as it always feels like a cheap home run is right around the corner. Nonetheless, if Lester's cutter is on, that pitch can have a similar effect to a sinker and induce ground balls, so that should work to his advantage in one of the most pitcher-hostile environments in baseball.
End 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: So what's different about Jon Lester?
Since giving up 11 runs back on July 22, Lester has pitched four games which each gave reason for varying degrees of optimish that the lef-hander might turn it around. Well, Lester still looks like his arm slot is a little bit lower than during his prime, but nonetheless his cutter has returned with a vengance, seeming to have a bit more of a lateral break, but it's still a sharp, biting pitch.
Aside from that, Lester's mechanics look a bit more consistent, thus he's hitting his spots a bit better and relying a bit more on his curveball. We'll see if he can come all the way back and be the domiant, ace-caliber starter, but Lester has certainly looked much better of late.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: Let's talk about the fastball Phelps threw to Crawford to get the left fielder looking.
That wouldn't qualify as having a cut action (a cutter normally has a sharper break and moves downward slightly) but that tailing fastball was abosolutely nasty — you won't often see better pitches. As the hitter, there is absolutely nothing you can do about that, it's essentially an unhittable pitch, so don't fault Crawford for leaving the bat on his shoulder.
The location was also perfect, starting well off the inside corner and moving back towards the plate just enough to catch the inside edge.
End 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: For the second consecutive half inning, the second baseman is at the center of a dynamic defensive effort.
This time it was Dustin Pedroia, who did well in two aspects in turning that double play. First was simply staying on the base long enough to receive the throw and record the out. Then, throwing from a very awkward position, Pedroia was able to get just enough on his toss over to Gonzalez to record the double play. Pedroia was basically throwing across his body and off his back foot, so credit him for getting that second out.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Enough can't be said about how great a play Cano made on Lavarnway's sharp liner back up the middle.
Usually, when a pitcher has to duck out of the way to avoid being hit, it's an automatic base hit. But that's why we're giving credit to Cano, not for just showing some soft hands and snaring the ball on one hop, but for being there in the first place. That is a prime example of knowing the hitter at the plate and positioning yourself accordingly. So, chances are the scouting report says Lavarnway doesn't often go the other way, so Cano did well to know the situation.
End 1st, Red Sox 2-0: Jon Lester struggled a little bit with his command to begin the first inning, but in the end, he kept the Yankees off the scoreboard.
Derek Jeter worked a five-pitch walk to start things off, and Nick Swisher followed up with a base hit. That got catcher Ryan Lavarnway and second baseman Dustin Pedroia visiting the mound early.
Lester bounced back to strike out Robinson Cano, and he then forced Andruw Jones to hit a slow dribbler to third base, which Nick Punto was able to make a play on for the inning's second out. Lester then battled with Casey McGehee before ultimately striking him out to end the inning and end the threat.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 2-0: Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out on the game's second pitch, but Carl Crawford followed up with a base hit, allowing the Red Sox to get the wheels in motion.
Crawford first took off on a hit-and-run attempt with Dustin Pedroia at the plate. He was forced to retreat, however, when Pedroia skied one to left-center. Although Crawford would eventually swipe second base once Adrian Gonzalez came up, it didn't matter too much, as the Sox first baseman went the other way for a two-run shot.
Cody Ross struck out to end the inning after running the count full.
4:08 p.m.: And they're off…
4:05 p.m.: We're about ready for the game's first pitch, and it's clear skies at Yankee Stadium. That's a good sign after last night's downpours.
2:30 p.m.: The lineup cards are in, and it looks like Ryan Lavarnway is going to be back in the Red Sox lineup. He'll get the start behind the plate.
The Yankees, meanwhile, go with the same lineup card they drew up on Friday night. It worked, so why not?
The rest of Saturday's lineups are below.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Cody Ross, DH
Ryan Lavarnway, C
Scott Podsednik, RF
Pedro Ciriaco, SS
Nick Punto, 3B
Jon Lester, P
Derek Jeter, DH
Nick Swisher, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Andruw Jones, RF
Casey McGehee, 3B
Curtis Granderson, CF
Russell Martin, C
Jayson Nix, SS
Ichiro Suzuki, LF
David Phelps, P
8 a.m.: The Red Sox fell victim to the long ball on Friday night, dropping a game to the Yankees following five solo home runs off the bats of the Bronx Bombers.
Franklin Morales was victimized by the New York bats en route to a 6-4 loss. But on Saturday Jon Lester will be on the mound, looking to continue with the solid form he showed when striking out 12 earlier in the week.
The Yankees bats will come to play again, but Lester will be looking to find the holes and mow them down. As for the Sox, Dustin Pedroia looked stellar with a three-run bomb on Friday, but the other bats need to come alive if Boston has any hopes at pulling out two of three in the Big Apple.
Keep up with the Red Sox Live Blog for all your info and analysis at gametime.