Jon Lester pitched eight great innings while earning the victory. He gave up just one run on three hits and was in total control. The left-hander struck out five, walked two and threw 115 pitches (79 strikes).
Lester has now gone eight innings in back-to-back outings and at least six innings in eight straight starts. He is looking like the ace that anchored the Red Sox staff for a four-year stretch and could take the ball in Game 1 of the ALDS — assuming Boston locks up a division title.
The Red Sox scored in each inning from the second through the fifth as CC Sabathia was once again unimpressive. Boston has now beaten New York’s top two starters in back-to-back games, casting even further doubt over the Yankees’ playoff hopes.
The Red Sox and Yankees will close things out Sunday night. Clay Buchholz will go up against Ivan Nova, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m.
Good night, everyone.
End 8th, Red Sox 5-1: Matt Daley shut down the Red Sox in the eighth inning, and we’ll head to the ninth with the score still 5-1.
Daley struck out David Ross and Xander Bogaerts before fielding his position well on a chopper back to the mound. Ross struck out swinging on a high fastball, and Bogaerts went down looking.
Franklin Morales will take over for the Red Sox after eight fantastic innings by Jon Lester.
Lester gave up one run on three hits over eight innings. He struck out five and walked two while throwing 115 pitches (79 strikes).
Mid 8th, Red Sox 5-1: Jon Lester’s day is likely over. He ended it in style.
Lester walked J.R. Murphy in what was an otherwise solid inning for the left-hander. Lester capped the frame by snagging a comebacker drilled by Mark Reynolds.
Reynolds’ comebacker hit the dirt and shot out at Lester, who ducked while sticking up his glove to make the play. Lester underhand flipped to first for the out and then pounded his glove as he walked off the mound. The lefty was fired up after a good day at the office.
End 7th, Red Sox 5-1: Joba Chamberlain wasn’t sharp in his first inning of work, although he kept the Red Sox at five runs.
Chamberlain walked Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes to begin the inning. Napoli put up a very good battle and laid off a 3-2 slider in the dirt to earn his free pass, and Gomes saw five pitches en route to first base.
From there, it looked like the Red Sox could do some damage on the scoreboard. Their threat took a step backward, however, when Daniel Nava smoked a line drive to first base that Lyle Overbay caught before stepping on the bag to complete an unassisted double play.
Will Middlebrooks was fooled by an offspeed offering and struck out to end the inning.
Jon Lester will come back out to begin the eighth.
2:19 p.m., Red Sox 5-1: Mike Lowell was just shown on the big screen at Fenway. He received a nice ovation from the crowd.
2:17 p.m., Red Sox 5-1: Want to predict what is going to happen next? The MLB PrePlay app allows you to predict every play of every game. By correctly selecting the outcome of every at-bat in real time, you’re able to earn points.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 5-1: Jon Lester didn’t have any problems in the seventh inning.
Lester induced a pair of groundouts and recorded a strikeout while retiring the side in order.
Lester struck out Lyle Overbay for the second out of the inning. The K came on a sinker down in the zone that Overbay didn’t offer at. Lester has five strikeouts thus far.
CC Sabathia will now give way to Joba Chamberlain after six innings of work. Sabathia gave up five earned runs on nine hits while striking out five and walking four. He threw 110 pitches (70 strikes).
Sabathia wasn’t his sharpest. He gave the Yankees six innings, though, and they desperately need innings with the way their bullpen is looking nowadays.
End 6th, Red Sox 5-1: David Ortiz’s line drive into left-center field hung up just long enough.
Shane Victorino fell behind in the count, 0-2, with two outs in the sixth inning before lining a double down the right field line. It ended up going for naught, but it almost allowed the Red Sox to tack on another run.
Victorino swiped third base on the first pitch following his double, as CC Sabathia didn’t pay any attention to him at second base. David Ortiz, who doubled home a run in the third inning, then hit a sinking line drive to left-center. Curtis Granderson, who was playing deep, had to range a long way before making a shoe-string grab to end the inning.
Jon Lester now heads back to work, and he’s been in total control thus far.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 5-1: Curtis Granderson is having a nice afternoon.
Granderson, who already has a triple and a run to his credit, roped a leadoff double in the sixth inning.
Robinson Cano threatened to knock in Granderson with a ground ball up the middle, but Xander Bogaerts made a nice rangy play. The rookie delivered a strong throw to first base while cutting across the infield to record the out, and Granderson took third on the play.
Jon Lester held Granderson at third base by taking care of Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod got on top of a fastball and grounded it to third base for the third out.
End 5th, Red Sox 5-1: Daniel Nava’s sacrifice fly has upped Boston’s lead to four runs.
Mike Napoli walked to begin the bottom of the fifth, and Jonny Gomes followed by sending a line drive into the gap in right-center field. Napoli took a wide turn around third base before Brian Butterfield threw up the stop sign.
Nava lifted a fly ball to center field that Curtis Granderson was able to size up and grab while his momentum was going forward. His throw was off the mark, though, and Napoli brushed his hand across the plate while sliding in safely around catcher J.R. Murphy.
CC Sabathia struck out Will Middlebrooks and David Ross to end the inning.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-1: Jon Lester has been getting the job done in this one.
Brendan Ryan singled with one out in the fifth, but Lester worked through it to complete another scoreless inning.
Ichiro Suzuki followed Ryan’s single with a ground ball up the middle that Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia almost turned into an inning-ending double play. Ichiro was too fast, though, and Lester was forced to face one more batter.
Lester needed just three pitches to strike out J.R. Murphy. The lefty got him to chase a curveball in the dirt to complete the K.
End 4th, Red Sox 4-1: CC Sabathia induced a big double play that put him on the verge of escaping a jam. Shane Victorino wasn’t ready to let him off the hook.
David Ross singled and Xander Bogaerts walked to begin the inning. Catcher J.R. Murphy had a brief chat with Sabathia, and the left-hander got Dustin Pedroia to ground into a 6-4-3 double play on the next pitch.
Victorino didn’t go quietly, though. He lined a base hit into left-center field to score Ross with Boston’s fourth run.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 3-1: The Yankees got on the scoreboard in the fourth inning.
Curtis Granderson smoked a line shot to center field to lead off the inning. Shane Victorino took a weird route to the ball and it bounced on the warning track. Granderson motored his way into third base with New York’s first hit of the game.
Mark Reynolds drilled a line drive to the left side that Dustin Pedroia, who was moved over because of the shift, snagged for the first out.
Robinson Cano grounded out for the second out, but Granderson was able to cross with the Yankees’ first run.
Alex Rodriguez walked, which drew plenty of boos, before Vernon Wells ended the inning with a popout to Mike Napoli in foul territory.
End 3rd, Red Sox 3-0: CC Sabathia had a rough go of it in the third inning.
Dustin Pedroia led off with a hard line drive through the left side for a base hit. Shane Victorino bunted him up into scoring position, marking Boston’s second successful sacrifice bunt of the game.
Sabathia looked to start off Ortiz with a pitch low and away, and the slugger went the other way with it. He shot a line drive down into the left field corner for a one-out RBI double.
Mike Napoli followed with a base hit, moving Ortiz to third base, and Jonny Gomes singled back up the middle to knock in Boston’s third run. Sabathia threw his glove up in self defense, but Gomes’ base knock traveled past him and into center field.
Sabathia struck out Daniel Nava looking and Will Middlebrooks swinging to end the inning. Boston holds all of the momentum right now, though.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: Jon Lester is off to a very nice start.
Lester shut down the Yankees’ offense again in the third inning, and he’s been perfect in one trip through the order.
Lester struck out Brendan Ryan, who homered in Friday’s game, to begin the third inning. Ichiro Suzuki popped out to second base and J.R. Murphy grounded to third base.
End 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Mark Reynolds has a ton of power. Beyond that, he’s not that good.
Mike Napoli led off with a ground ball down to third base. Reynolds charged it, made the play and then uncorked a horrendous throw that ended up in the Red Sox’ dugout. Napoli took second on the error.
Jonny Gomes walked on five pitches to make it first and second with no outs. Daniel Nava moved each up into scoring position with a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt.
Will Middlebrooks followed Nava’s bunt with a ground ball up the middle. Shortstop Brendan Ryan made the play and looked toward home, but he didn’t have a play there or at third base. He took the sure out at first as Napoli crossed the plate with the game’s first run.
David Ross waked to put runners at the corners for Xander Bogaerts with two outs. Bogaerts popped out to Robinson Cano for the third out.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Jon Lester went right back to work in the second inning.
Lester took care of Alex Rodriguez, Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay in order.
Rodriguez grounded out and Overbay flied out to center. Lester finished the inning by striking out Overbay. The left-hander got Overbay looking with a 2-2 cutter on the inside corner.
Lester has thrown 23 pitches in his two perfect frames.
End 1st, 0-0: All three of Jon Lester’s outs came on the ground. All three of CC Sabathia’s outs came in the air.
Dustin Pedroia, Shane Victorino and David Ortiz scattered some balls around in the first inning, yet all found leather.
Pedroia scorched a fly ball to right field that Ichiro Suzuki raced back and grabbed for the first out. Victorino then flied out to Curtis Granderson in center field, and Ortiz lifted a routine fly ball to shallow left field that Vernon Wells took care of.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Jon Lester enjoyed a quick 1-2-3 inning in the first. All three outs came on the ground.
Curtis Granderson led off with a bouncer down to first base that Mike Napoli handled before flipping to Lester for the out.
Mark Reynolds grounded to second base and Robinson Cano grounded to third base.
1:08 p.m.: Curtis Granderson whiffs on the first pitch. We’re underway at Fenway Park.
1:01 p.m.: There’s been a change to the Yankees’ lineup. Alfonso Soriano has been scratched due to a sprained right thumb. He’s listed as day-to-day.
Vernon Wells will shift to left field with Soriano out. Ichiro Suzuki will play right field and bat eighth.
The updated lineup is below.
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Reynolds, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Alex Rodriguez, DH
Vernon Wells, LF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Brendan Ryan, SS
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
J.R. Murphy, C
12:56 p.m.: The Red Sox enter Saturday’s game with an AL-best 48-25 (.658) home record. John Farrell said Friday that this group embraces the challenge of playing in Boston.
11:22 a.m.: While the big boys battle the Bronx Bombers at Fenway, the PawSox are preparing for Game 4 of their Governors’ Cup series. Pawtucket lost to Durham in Game 3 on Friday and trail the series 2-1.
11:14 a.m.: The Red Sox can clinch their MLB-best 32nd series victory with a win Saturday. No other team in baseball has won more than 28 series. Boston has also won its last seven series.
10:45 a.m.: The lineup cards are in.
David Ross will get the start behind the dish and Xander Bogaerts will start at short. They’ll bat eighth and ninth, respectively.
Saturday’s complete lineups are below.
Red Sox (90-59)
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Shane Victorino, CF
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jonny Gomes, LF
Daniel Nava, RF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
David Ross, C
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Jon Lester, LHP (13-8, 3.86 ERA)
Curtis Granderson, CF
Alex Rodriguez, DH
Robinson Cano, 2B
Alfonso Soriano, LF
Mark Reynolds, 3B
Vernon Wells, RF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Brendan Ryan, SS
J.R. Murphy, C
CC Sabathia, LHP (13-12, 4.82 ERA)
8 a.m. ET: It was Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s turn to play the role of hero Friday.
Saltalamacchia crushed a grand slam over the right field bullpens in the seventh inning to propel the Red Sox to an 8-4 victory. Boston has now won eight of its last 10 games and 17 of its last 23.
Jon Lester and CC Sabathia will square off Saturday in an Opening Day rematch. Sabathia has hardly been the pitcher we’ve been accustomed to seeing over the years, while Lest has strung together some good outings. The Red Sox also have the benefit of having won their last nine games when facing a left-handed starting pitcher.
Saturday’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. come check back early and often.