The New York Yankees are living up to their "Bronx Bombers" nickname against Boston this season.
Bobby Valentine 's Red Sox have simply bombed in 2012.
Without ailing Mark Teixeira in the lineup, the Yankees will look to continue teeing off against Red Sox pitching when the rivals headed in different directions continue their three-game series Saturday.
New York (71-48) opened this set with a 6-4 victory Friday night at Yankee Stadium on the strength of five solo home runs - two by Nick Swisher and one apiece for Derek Jeter , Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin . Jeter's homer was the 250th of his career.
"If you do it long enough, good things happen," said Jeter, who joined Willie Mays as the only players with 3,000 hits, 250 homers, 300 steals and 1,200 RBIs. "I consider it a good number. Other people might not. But for me it's a lot of homers."
The power surge was nothing new for the Yankees against the Red Sox this season. New York has homered 28 times in 10 meetings - seven wins - including a pair of contests with five homers. Swisher has hit five of the long balls.
Given the ease with which the Yankees are hitting Boston pitching, they are likely not tempted to rush Teixeira back into action. The slugging first baseman is out of the starting lineup for a second straight day due to a nagging wrist injury he originally suffered against the Red Sox on July 29.
"The wrist is a little sore," Teixeira said. "The same thing I had two weeks ago, but we played 14 days straight, so it's gotten sore the last few days. We just want to give it a day or two to calm down a little bit. I'm taking 50 swings in the cage. I'm taking 20 on the field every day and the game swings, that just adds up after a couple weeks."
The losses keep adding up for the Red Sox (58-62) in Valentine's first season, though the manager said Friday he doesn't agree with club president Larry Lucchino's comments that negative media coverage is partly to blame for the team's struggles.
"It's been a real challenging year. A lot of things going on," Valentine said. "I don't know if it's more than I expected, but it's been challenging - just the way we like it."
Valentine had to like what he saw from scheduled Saturday starter Jon Lester (6-10, 5.20 ERA) in his last outing. The left-hander struck out a season-high 12 in six innings of Sunday's 14-1 rout of Cleveland, allowing one run and three hits to earn his first win in six weeks. He had been 0-5 with a 7.49 ERA over his previous seven starts.
Lester faced the Yankees twice during his winless drought, getting charged with nine runs and 13 hits over 10 1-3 innings and suffering one loss. He surrendered two homers - to Jayson Nix and Chris Stewart - in a July 28 outing in the Bronx.
Nix is 6 for 16 (.375) with three homers in his career off Lester, while Jeter is 19 for 55 (.345) with one home run.
David Phelps (3-3, 2.53) will take a second straight turn in the rotation for New York in place of CC Sabathia, who is on the 15-day disabled list due to left elbow soreness but could return next weekend. Phelps threw a career-high five innings Monday, allowing two runs and scattering six hits to earn an 8-2 victory over Texas.
The rookie right-hander has yielded three runs in six innings of relief versus Boston this season.
The Yankees have won eight of 10 overall, while the Red Sox have dropped seven of 10.
|Boston Red Sox|
|August 11, 2012||Will Middlebrooks||15-Day DL||Broken right wrist - out for season|
|August 06, 2012||Vicente Padilla||15-Day DL||Strained right biceps|
|July 31, 2012||Ryan Sweeney||60-Day DL||Fractured left hand|
|July 31, 2012||Josh Beckett||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back spasms|
|July 29, 2012||Daniel Nava||15-Day DL||Sprained left wrist|
|July 21, 2012||Mike Aviles||Day-to-Day||Turf toe|
|New York Yankees|
|August 17, 2012||Mark Teixeira||Day-to-Day||Sore left wrist|
|August 09, 2012||CC Sabathia||15-Day DL||Left elbow soreness|
|July 25, 2012||Alex Rodriguez||15-Day DL||Non-displaced fracture in left hand|
|July 25, 2012||Nick Swisher||Day-to-Day||Strained left hip flexor|
|July 24, 2012||Alex Rodriguez||Day-to-Day||Left hand fracture|
|June 28, 2012||Andy Pettitte||60-Day DL||Fractured left ankle - out 6-8 weeks|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Jon Lester walked Derek Jeter leading off the first inning and allowed a single to Nick Swisher .
Even with a 2-0 lead, it seemed like the Boston Red Sox were headed for another frustrating day.
Lester worked out of trouble by retiring the next three hitters, pretty much breezed his way through seven innings and won consecutive starts for the first time since mid-May.
"It's been a grinding season," he said Saturday after pitching the Red Sox over the New York Yankees 4-1. "I said back a month or so ago, I'm not giving up. Keep working hard, and things will turn. The last handful of starts I feel like they have."
Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the first off David Phelps (3-4) and Yankees nemesis Pedro Ciriaco was 4 for 4, raising his average against New York to .517 (15 for 29) - all in seven games this year. That's the second-highest for a player with at least 25 plate appearances against the Yankees in his career, according to STATS LLC, behind only Barry Bonds ' .533.
"Do you think they'll try to trade for him?" Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "It hasn't surprised me. It amazes me that he is who he is with that kind of talent and hasn't been utilized before."
On a notable afternoon in the Bronx, Boston reliever Craig Breslow and catcher Ryan Lavarnway became what is thought to be the first all-Yale battery in the major leagues since 1883. Breslow, a molecular biophysics and biochemistry major, is a 2002 graduate. Lavarnway, a philosophy major, left after his junior year in 2008 to turn pro.
"We didn't need to put any signs down. We're all on the same wavelength," Breslow joked.
Fourth-place Boston won for just the fourth time in 11 games as the Red Sox try to right their foundering season.
Lester (7-10) had not won consecutive outings since May 14 against Seattle and May 19 at Philadelphia. He allowed five hits with four strikeouts and two walks, giving up his only run when Curtis Granderson homered in the fourth. Before defeating Cleveland 14-1 last Sunday, Lester had gone 0-5 with a 7.49 ERA in seven starts from the beginning of July.
"A lot more balls that are hit have been hit for hits and a lot of them they were well placed," Valentine said. "Sometimes that happens and sometimes it just stops. Hopefully, it's stopped."
Lester needed 24 pitches to get through the first. With two on, he struck out Robinson Cano , retired Andruw Jones on a slow bouncer to third as the runners advance and fanned Casey McGehee .
New York went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position. After Granderson doubled leading off the seventh, Lester stranded him on third.
Lester didn't look like a pitcher with a 5.03 ERA.
"You look at the numbers, you kind of step back, because you know that's not the type of pitcher that he is," said Swisher, who went 3 for 4. "Today you got the best of Jon Lester you've seen in a while."
After Andrew Bailey started the eighth and gave up a one-out single to Swisher, Breslow induced an inning-ending, double-play grounder from Cano, who is in a 1-for-21 skid. Alfredo Aceves pitched the ninth for his 25th save in 31 chances.
According to STATS and baseballreference.com, the only previous all-Yale battery was in on Sept. 15, 1883, when the Philadelphia Athletics' Jack Jones pitched to Al Hubbard . The Red Sox said they had been talking with Yale in recent days and had not yet been able to confirm that.
"There's been kind of an influx of talent in the Ivy League over the last few years," Breslow said of the brainy battery.
Instead of giving up the lead in the middle innings, Boston had boosted its lead to 3-1 in the fifth when Ciriaco singled with one out and scored on Nick Punto 's double into the right-field corner.
Punto helped Lester avoid trouble in the fifth. Ichiro Suzuki singled with one out and stole second, and Jeter hit a hard one-hopper to third. The ball bounced off Punto's glove into the air, and he grabbed the ball with his bare hand and threw to first for the out. Swisher then struck out on a check swing.
Ciriaco doubled in the ninth, sending Scott Podsednik to third, and Cody Eppley threw a run-scoring wild pitch.
Whenever he plays against the Yankees, Ciriano seems to give the Red Sox a jolt.
"A bunt for a base hit, a hit-and-run double, a stolen base, a curveball to right field, base hit to center field on a fastball," Valentine said. "That's a good day."
NOTES: Red Sox LHP Brian Johnson , a first-round draft pick in June, was hit on the face with a line drive in a Future Games at Boston's Fenway Park. Johnson sustained multiple orbital bone fractures on the left side of his face, Red Sox spokeswoman Pam Ganley said. He was taken to a hospital, where she said he was resting comfortably. There were no signs of a concussion. ... Dustin Pedroia doubled in the eighth, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. ... INF Mauro Gomez was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket and LHP Felix Doubront was placed on the 15-day DL with a bruised right knee. The Doubront move was retroactive to Aug. 10, and the Red Sox expect he will rejoin the rotation as soon as he's eligible to come off the DL. ... Punto had eight assists at third. ... Phelps gave up three runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings and struick out seven. He fanned Cody Ross three times, all on breaking balls.