The New York Yankees have built a solid lead in the AL East since their last matchup with the Boston Red Sox, but they've also lost two of their top starting pitchers to injuries.
Hiroki Kuroda will try to help his short-handed team again by providing another stellar outing in the opener of a four-game set at Fenway Park on Friday night.
New York (49-32) is set to face Boston for the first time since sweeping three games at Fenway from April 20-22. The teams have 16 more meetings this season.
The Yankees head into this series in first place, while the Red Sox (42-40) are 7 1/2 games behind.
New York, though, is 3-4 since CC Sabathia was placed on the disabled list June 27 and Andy Pettitte broke a bone in his left leg on the same day. Sabathia is expected to return shortly after the All-Star break, while Pettitte should miss at least six weeks.
The Yankees, though, have received outstanding performances from their starting pitchers lately with a 2.35 ERA in the last five games. Kuroda (8-7, 3.17 ERA) began that stretch with a 4-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday - his latest dominant effort.
The right-hander, 5-1 with a 1.65 ERA in his last seven starts, matched a career high with 11 strikeouts and yielded three singles over seven innings.
"These are great pitchers that we're missing," Kuroda said through a translator. "The only thing I can do on the mound is to pitch my game."
Kuroda lost his only start against the Red Sox 2-0 on June 20, 2010, allowing two runs over seven innings and striking out nine at Fenway while with Los Angeles.
This time, he'll face a team that scored 14 runs on a 2-5 West Coast trip. The Red Sox managed five runs while dropping all three games against Oakland to start the week.
They had three hits in 3-2 defeat Wednesday - one of them being David Ortiz 's 400th homer.
"Our offense has just been terrible," outfielder Cody Ross said. "I don't need to sugarcoat it. It just (stunk) basically. Our pitchers have been pitching their butts off to keep us in games and we just can't seem to push a run across."
One of those pitchers who hasn't seen much support is Josh Beckett (4-7, 4.06), and that trend continued in his first start after missing time due to inflammation in his pitching shoulder.
The right-hander gave up two runs and four hits over six innings in his return from the disabled list Saturday, but Boston lost 3-2 in 11 innings to Seattle.
Beckett has posted a 3.60 ERA in his last five outings but has lost three consecutive decisions as the Red Sox have provided him with eight runs in that span.
He hasn't needed too much help in his last six matchups with the Yankees, going 5-0 with a 2.66 ERA, though Boston gave him 35 runs of support in those games. He needed the extra offense in the most recent of those outings, going seven innings and giving up five runs in a 9-5 victory Aug. 31.
|New York Yankees|
|June 28, 2012||Andy Pettitte||60-Day DL||Fractured left ankle - out 6-8 weeks|
|June 27, 2012||Andy Pettitte||Day-to-Day||Fractured left ankle - out 6-8 weeks|
|June 25, 2012||CC Sabathia||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
|June 16, 2012||Nick Swisher||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left quad contusion|
|May 14, 2012||David Robertson||15-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
|May 14, 2012||David Robertson||15-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
|Boston Red Sox|
|July 04, 2012||Dustin Pedroia||Day-to-Day||Jammed right thumb|
|July 03, 2012||Daisuke Matsuzaka||15-Day DL||Neck injury|
|June 20, 2012||Clay Buchholz||15-Day DL||Gastro-intestinal illness|
|June 19, 2012||Dustin Pedroia||Day-to-Day||Left game - right thumb|
|June 18, 2012||Scott Podsednik||15-Day DL||Left groin injury|
|June 17, 2012||Ryan Sweeney||15-Day DL||Toe discomfort|
BOSTON (AP) -- The two-run single in the first inning was nice. What Mark Teixeira really enjoyed, though, was his seventh-inning triple off longtime nemesis Vicente Padilla .
"Game-winning hits always feel good," he said, "but that one definitely felt good."
Teixeira had the big hit in New York's five-run first inning, then added a two-run triple off Padilla in the seventh to give the Yankees the lead for good on Friday night as they beat the Boston Red Sox 10-8.
After celebrating a little bit at third base, Teixeira gloated a little more in the clubhouse about beating the pitcher who gave up homers the first two times they faced each other - then plunked Teixeira with a pitch his next time up.
"He doesn't have too many friends in the game," said Teixeira, who has called out Padilla before for throwing at batters' heads. "Guy throws at people. Fact of the matter, I'm not saying anything that's news."
Teixeira homered in his first two career at-bats against Padilla, in 2009, when Teixeira was with the Rangers and Padilla was with the Phillies. He had not gotten another hit since then - but he'd been hit three times.
"In the NFL, he'd probably be suspended by (commissioner) Roger Goodell eight games or a whole season," Teixeira said. "There's only one guy in baseball. No one else does this. That's the thing that is unbelievable to me."
Alex Rodriguez had three hits and Curtis Granderson scored three times for the Yankees, who improved to 3-0 against Boston this year.
David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez had three hits apiece for Boston, which lost its fourth in a row. Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a three-run homer to help the Red Sox tie it 5-5 after Josh Beckett gave up five runs in the top of the first.
Boone Logan (4-0) wound up with the win and Andrew Miller (2-1) took the loss. Rafael Soriano got four outs for his 20th save - his first save of more than one inning since 2007.
"They got five in the first; we had their closer in at the end of the game," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "We did a good job, but it put us climbing uphill the whole game."
It was the first game between the two rivals since the Yankees rallied from a 9-0 deficit with seven runs in the seventh and seven more in the eighth to win 15-9 on April 21 at Fenway Park.
This time, neither team could hold a lead.
The Yankees coughed up a 5-0 lead in the first and a 6-5 lead in the second, and Boston led 7-6 after five. But New York scored four times in the seventh inning, taking an 8-7 lead on Teixeira's triple.
Raul Ibanez doubled in Teixeira and scored on Eric Chavez 's single to make it 10-7.
Beckett allowed six runs on eight hits and two walks, striking out five in five innings.
The first five Yankees all reached base - and scored - on three singles, a hit batsman and a walk. When Beckett got Nick Swisher on a flyout to right, the crowd cheered sarcastically, and it booed as he walked off the field at the end of the inning.
But Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda was just as bad, giving up seven runs - six earned - on 10 hits and a walk while striking out three in 5 2-3 innings.
The Red Sox tied it in the bottom of the first, thanks in part to a two-run double by Gonzalez followed by Saltalamacchia's career-high 17th homer.
The teams traded single runs in the second inning before the pitchers settled down. The Yankees nearly took the lead in the fifth when Rodriguez singled and stole two bases. But he was thrown out trying to score on a grounder to second when Daniel Nava came home with the throw and Saltalamacchia blocked the plate.
Boston took a 7-6 lead in the fifth when Gonzalez singled, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Mauro Gomez 's single - his first career RBI.
But the Yankees went ahead after Miller came in to start the seventh.
Granderson walked and Rodriguez singled and, after Robinson Cano struck out, Vicente Padilla came on to face Teixeira. The Yankees first baseman lined a triple to the deepest part of the ballpark, the center field triangle, just short of the 420-foot marker.
Granderson and Rodriguez scored and Teixeira slid into third without drawing a throw.
The Red Sox threatened another comeback when Cody Ross led off the bottom half with a homer and Gonzalez singled. But Logan struck out Saltalamacchia and Cody Eppley came on.
Gomez singled, but Mike Aviles hit a grounder that drew Jeter deep into the hole to his right and he threw to third for the force on Gonzalez. David Robertson struck out Nick Punto with runners on second and third to end the inning.
"I thought it was the only play I had," Jeter said. "It's huge. You score runs here, you want to be able to go out and shut them down the next inning."
NOTES: The Red Sox and Yankees promoted a "hashtag battle" on Twitter, with each team promising fans autographed souvenirs if it won. ... Before the game, the Red Sox honored Ortiz for his 400th career home run. Boston Mayor Tom Menino joined the owners on the field, and many Yankees went to the top step of their dugout to applaud. ... Cano drove in a run for the ninth straight game, the longest streak for a Yankee since Jeter had nine in 2004. ... Before the game, the Red Sox put 2B Dustin Pedroia on the 15-day DL with a hyperextended right thumb. INF Pedro Ciriaco was selected from Triple-A Pawtucket to take his place, and Rich Hill was transferred to the 60-day DL to make room for Ciriaco on the 40-man roster. The Red Sox also activated OF Scott Podsednik from the 15-day disabled list and optioned him to Pawtucket. ... Russell Martin was hitless in three at-bats, making him hitless in his last 30. ... Former Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald made his Yankees debut as a defensive replacement in the ninth.