Postgame, Red Sox 7-3: The Yankees' magic number to clinch a playoff spot remains at three. With a win by New York on Sunday it is down to one, emphasizing just how difficult it would be for the Red Sox to actually pull this off.
But to give you just a little bit of hope heading into Sunday, I leave you with this quote from Jon Lester, who put his team on his shoulders Saturday:
"I think we have a chance. It's a long road…You wouldn't think that, but weirder things have happened in baseball. We've got four more against the Yankees. We'll see. All we can do is go out there and play hard and put up a good effort.
"You're not gonna expect anything less from these guys in the clubhouse."
With that we turn our attention to Sunday night, which will see Daisuke Matsuzaka oppose Dustin Moseley in (another) must-win game.
Final, Red Sox 7-3: Befitting the trend in this series the Yankees add on another late-inning home run, but again it is too little, too late. The Red Sox have won three in a row and are now five games behind the Yanks in the loss column.
The story of the game is Jon Lester. While New York has crushed home run after home run against every other Boston pitcher Lester allowed only two weak singles in seven frames.
We will get the skinny on his remarkable outing and everything else for you downstairs. Back in a bit.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 7-2: Joba Chamberlain was on his game in the ninth. He gives up back-to-back doubles to Jed Lowrie and Ryan Kalish to make it 7-2 and then aborts a pickoff throw to first base, due to the fact that there wasn't even a runner there. Chamberlain wheeled and threw the ball right into the ground once seeing an unoccupied bag.
The burly right-hander throws 24 pitches in an extremely untidy frame. The extra run gives a five-run cushion to Hideki Okajima, the third Boston pitcher of the afternoon/evening/soon-to-be-morning.
End 8th, Red Sox 6-2: Curtis Granderson has 13 home runs in his last 40 games overall and nine in his last 22 at home after slugging a two-run shot off Daniel Bard in the eighth.
Bard is still doing a great job but there has been just the slightest dip in effectiveness in September, during which he has given up 11 hits and six walks in 11 innings and has a 2.70 ERA, almost a run higher than his mark for the year.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-0: Jon Lester will not come out for the eighth. It'll be Daniel Bard instead, closing the books on another gem for Lester.
The lefty yields two hits, walks three and strikes out eight in seven innings. He has not allowed a run against the Yankees over the course of 16 1/3 consecutive innings.
End 7th, Red Sox 6-0: The Yankees got a runner to third base for the second straight inning but remain without a run. Jon Lester finishes the inning with 102 pitches and nobody is moving in the Boston bullpen.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 6-0: The top of the seventh inning took roughly four hours to play but the Sox' only two runs took just two swings. Seems like forever and a day ago that J.D. Drew and Victor Martinez went deep.
Jon Lester had a long wait on the bench. He returns to the mound having thrown just 79 pitches.
6:13 p.m.: J.D. Drew now has 20 home runs for the fifth time in his career and Victor Martinez is one shy of doing it for the fifth time in his after they go back-to-back in the seventh.
A single by Adrian Beltre one out later chases Chad Gaudin. Romulo Sanchez is on with one away and the Sox on top 6-0.
End 6th, Red Sox 4-0: Jon Lester's no-hitter is gone after a Francisco Cervelli liner falls in front of a diving Daniel Nava. Lester's shutout remains intact thanks to a great throw by Nava to nail Austin Kearns at the plate.
Kearns had walked to start the inning and moved to second on a grounder to second. Kearns had to freeze on Cervelli's hit to make sure it was not caught and was stuck on second.
So, when Derek Jeter followed with a base hit to left Kearns was still 180 feet from home and got nailed at the plate. Nava has actually played a pretty good left field this year, aside from a few hiccups. Lester should give him a pat on the back for that one.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 4-0: The Red Sox get two on with one out and then see both Lars Anderson and Marco Scutaro put a charge into one, but both of their drives are caught at that wall.
Anderson made a nice bid for his first major league home run with long fly to left. Scutaro also went the other way to send Nick Swisher to the track in right.
Jon Lester's pitch count is 60, in case anyone is wondering.
End 5th, Red Sox 4-0: The Yankees get their first base runner when Alex Rodriguez walks to lead off the bottom of the fifth. He is erased on a 1-6-3 double play and Marcus Thames becomes Jon Lester's seventh strikeout victim.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-0: The Sox have now outscored the Yankees 14-1 in innings one through five of this series. The way Jon Lester looks this lead might be safer than the nine-run advantage Boston nearly blew Friday night.
5:31 p.m.: Royce Ring was brought in to get one guy and he failed to do so. David Ortiz knocks an RBI single up the middle and the Yankees are going to the bullpen again.
Chad Gaudin is the third New York pitcher of the inning.
5:28 p.m.: Ivan Nova is unable to get out of the fifth inning. J.D. Drew doubled, Victor Martinez walked and Joe Girardi came with the hook.
Royce Ring is on in relief. He is a lefty once highly touted in the White Sox' system.
End 4th, Red Sox 3-0: Six strikeouts for Jon Lester, who is owning the Yankees right now. He now has thrown 10 1/3 scoreless innings in the Bronx this year. All this after giving up five runs in 2 1/3 innings in his last start at Yankee Stadium in 2009.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 3-0: Ivan Nova needed a quick inning to make himself and the Yankees feel a bit better about things based on the way the third went. He does, throwing just eight pitches in a speedy fourth.
End 3rd, Red Sox 3-0: All four of Jon Lester's strikeouts have come on cutters. When that pitch is working he is downright dominant. It is so far.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 3-0: We said the rookie Ivan Nova would have some struggles at some point. They came in a big way in the third as the Red Sox send eight to the plate and score three times.
The youngsters got it going and the old men took over from there. Ryan Kalish was hit by a pitch, Daniel Nava walked and Lars Anderson singled to load them up.
Marco Scutaro ripped an RBI single and David Ortiz had another later in the frame. The second run came in on a double play hit into by J.D. Drew.
End 2nd, 0-0: Jon Lester is 5-1 with a 2.76 ERA in his last 11 starts vs. the Yankees, including the first two innings of this one. He has recorded a strikeout, a grounder to second and a fly to center in each of the first two innings.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: The Sox have yet to make very solid contact off Ivan Nova, but they may have to wait him out a bit. For one, this is the first time seeing him, so a turn through the order will help.
Also, Nova has lasted six innings just once in his short career. He won't mow them down from here to eternity.
End 1st, 0-0: Apparently Tony Dungy was in the Yankees clubhouse prior to the game to meet with some of the players. No word on whether he cursed or not.
Mark Teixeira might be cursing himself after being frozen by a nasty Jon Lester cutter to end the first. Teixeira is now 4-for-23 (.174) against Lester.
Mid 1st, 0-0: This is our first look at Yankees rookie Ivan Nova. The first impression is pretty solid. He has a good mound presence (that's coach's speak for he won't pee his pants in a tight situation), is a big kid and seems to like mixing up his pitches.
The Sox go in order against Nova in the first. Time for Jon Lester to show us what he has.
4:08 p.m.: The Yankees have lost six straight games against left-handers, so Jon Lester is sitting pretty. Then again, they won nine of their previous 10 against southpaws. So he's doomed. Or not.
3:00 p.m.: We have heard from Felipe Lopez, who is wearing No. 32 for the Sox. It might be a short stint in the Boston uniform for him, but you never know. Check out his story with quotes on the site.
Mike Lowell is currently taking batting practice. He obviously is not concussed, for which the Sox are thankful. The fact that there is increased testing in such areas is another reason that the club is pleased.
"Thankfully it's different," manager Terry Francona said when comparing things to his day. "There's so much advancement in every area. There needs to be and it needs to continues to get better. Throwing a guy out there with somebody throwing 95 miles per hour and not being able to make a decision, that's scary."
Also check out the site for the update on Lowell.
There wasn't much else to report from the pregame, so we can turn our attention to Jon Lester's pursuit of win No. 19. Here is the lineup Lester will face:
Derek Jeter, SS
Nick Swisher, RF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Marcus Thames, DH
Austin Kearns, LF
Curtis Granderson, CF
Francisco Cervelli, C
12:43 p.m.: There is word that infielder Felipe Lopez is indeed in a Red Sox uniform after being signed Friday. He is not in the lineup but should be available. Here is that lineup in support of Jon Lester:
Marco Scutaro, 2B
J.D. Drew, RF
Victor Martinez, C
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jed Lowrie, SS
Ryan Kalish, CF
Daniel Nava, LF
Lars Anderson, 1B
12:34 p.m.: Greetings from Yankee Stadium, where I can see exactly 54 different advertisements without moving my head. There are many more in other areas. Maybe we'll get a full count later on.
Lineups should be in any second. As I wait there are some press box attendants near me discussing the pitching matchup for Saturday afternoon, Jon Lester vs. Ivan Nova.
One of the men conceded a win to the Red Sox and the other two then began doing the math as to what it would take for the Yankees to collapse and cede their spot to Boston.
It's at least still on the minds of some. If and when the Sox lose in this series it will no longer be.
8 a.m.: Jon Lester continues his pursuit of 20 wins when he leads the Red Sox into a Saturday afternoon matchup with the New York Yankees.
Lester has won five straight starts to reach 18 and has two remaining, including his final meeting with the Yanks. The lefty is 5-1 lifetime vs. New York.
Boston is six games behind the Yankees in the loss column with nine games to play, five between the two rivals. The Sox took the opener 10-8.
Rookie Ivan Nova gets the start for New York. First pitch is 4:10 p.m.
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