The AL-leading Boston Red Sox are thrilled that 13 of their first 16 games after the All-Star break will be at home.
The New York Yankees are mired in fourth place in the AL East and have to be hoping they can duplicate last year's success at Fenway Park - which they haven't visited in 2013.
These longtime rivals open a three-game set Friday night, and star second baseman Robinson Cano is expected to play for the Yankees after leaving the All-Star game with a leg injury.
Boston (58-39) starts a seven-game homestand against New York and second-place Tampa Bay in its first game at Fenway since July 4. The Red Sox lead the Rays by 2 1/2 games in the East."The most important thing for us is that we get off the road, we get back into this ballpark and feed off the energy of the people here in Fenway," manager John Farrell said. "We're looking forward to the start of this homestand."
The Yankees (51-44) are six games back as they start a seven-game road stretch that includes a series with Texas.
New York's primary concern this week was the condition of Cano. He hobbled off the field after being hit on the right leg by a pitch from Mets ace Matt Harvey in the first inning of Tuesday's All-Star game.
X-rays were negative, and Cano said it was a bruised quadriceps. He indicated that Yankees head athletic trainer Steve Donohue says he will be fine.
"Oh, yeah, they called Steve and everything is good with them," Cano said. "They said just put ice on it, the X-ray was negative, and get some rest."
Cano has two singles in 19 at-bats against Boston this year, with New York losing four of six. He only batted .200 last season at Fenway after entering the year with a career .355 average in Boston, but the Yankees captured seven of nine meetings.
While Cano is expected to play, fellow infielder Derek Jeter will not after the Yankees placed the veteran shortstop on the disabled list Friday with a strained quad. Jeter suffered the injury in his only game after missing the entire season recovering from a broken ankle, suffering the injury in the eighth inning of an 8-4 victory over Kansas City on July 11.
The Red Sox lead the majors in numerous offensive categories, most notably runs (498), extra-base hits (338) and walks (357).
Those are departments in which the injury-plagued Yankees are lagging behind. New York is tied for 20th in runs with 373, is 28th in extra-base hits with 234 and 16th in walks with 273. The Yankees finished third in the major leagues in walks last year.
"We've got to be more consistent offensively," manager Joe Girardi said. "And if we do that, we're going to have a shot. But that's probably what we need to do, more than anything."
The season series has demonstrated how Boston has gotten contributions from different sources this year. Mike Napoli has a team-high six RBIs and Daniel Nava is second with five while Jose Iglesias owns a team-best 12 hits.
Napoli is looking forward to his first taste of this rivalry in Boston."I haven't experienced that yet," he said. "I'm pretty sure the atmosphere is going to be (great). I'm looking forward to it and I'm sure (Friday) is going to be a fun day."
Doubront allowed one run over six innings June 1 to earn an 11-1 victory over the Yankees, giving him a 2-1 mark and 2.32 ERA in five starts against them.
Cano is 1 for 14 off of him.
Pettitte has gone 2-3 with a 5.35 ERA over his last six starts, although he won the last two. He earned a 4-2 victory over Boston on April 4 by yielding one run over a season-high eight innings.
The veteran last pitched at Fenway in 2010. He's 7-3 with a 4.05 ERA in 17 regular-season starts there.
Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is 21 for 56 (.375) with one homer against Pettitte.
|Jackie Bradley Jr.||3||.333||1||0||1||0||0||.333||1.000||.667|
|New York Yankees|
|July 16, 2013||Robinson Cano||Day-to-Day||Left game - leg|
|July 12, 2013||Derek Jeter||Day-to-Day||Strained right quad|
|July 10, 2013||Brett Gardner||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right leg contusion|
|July 10, 2013||Travis Hafner||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left foot contusion|
|July 05, 2013||David Phelps||15-Day DL||Right forearm strain|
|July 02, 2013||Hiroki Kuroda||Day-to-Day||Sore left hip flexor|
|Boston Red Sox|
|July 09, 2013||Alex Wilson||15-Day DL||Sprained right thumb|
|July 08, 2013||Jacoby Ellsbury||Day-to-Day||Sore left wrist|
|July 07, 2013||Andrew Miller||60-Day DL||Left foot surgery - out for season|
|June 29, 2013||Stephen Drew||15-Day DL||Right hamstring tightness|
|June 28, 2013||Stephen Drew||Day-to-Day||Left game - right hamstring tightness|
|June 23, 2013||Shane Victorino||Day-to-Day||Left game - back|
BOSTON (AP) -- Jacoby Ellsbury started off the second half for the Boston Red Sox in the best possible way.
Ellsbury hit Andy Pettitte 's second pitch of the game over the right-field bullpen, and Johnny Gomes added a two-run shot in the second inning to help the Red Sox return from the All-Star break with a 4-2 victory over the depleted New York Yankees on Friday night.
"It seems like he's been hitting .700," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "His timing has been much more Jacoby-like. And his ability to get on base speaks for itself with the havoc he can create."
Felix Doubront outpitched Pettitte in the opener of the three-game series to help AL East-leading Boston maintain a 2 1/2-game lead over Tampa Bay in the division and open a seven-game cushion over its fourth-place rivals from New York.
"You can't take too much of it, but obviously this is an important stretch for us that we are in," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We understand that. The next three teams we play are all in front of us. We need to play well."
Ellsbury also singled in the third inning and reached on a walk in the seventh to support Doubront (7-3), who allowed three or fewer earned runs for the 12th start in a row. Doubront has six quality starts against the Yankees in six tries.
The last Red Sox pitcher to open his career with as many quality starts, defined as six innings pitched and three or fewer runs allowed, against the Yankees was Dutch Leonard - in 1913-15.
"Look at the last two months. He's pitched extremely well since the end of May," Girardi said. "And he's been tough on us."
Ellsbury hit .360 in June and is batting .370 in July, putting together a 19-game hitting streak that was snapped just before the break. He had three hits in the first-half finale, then went 2 for 3 on Friday night to raise his average to .308.
"Not the way you want to start the second half, first batter of the game hitting a home run off you," Pettitte said. "Can't keep going out there and giving up 2-3-4 runs in the first or second inning. ... The long ball hurt me."
Doubront held a Yankees lineup without Derek Jeter and a handful of other regulars hitless until Lyle Overbay doubled to lead off the fifth inning. In all, the Red Sox left-hander gave up two runs - one earned - on three hits and three walks while striking out five in 6 1-3 innings.
Koji Uehara pitched the ninth for his ninth save.
Pettitte (7-7) gave up four runs on six hits and a walk, striking out four in 6 1-3 innings.
Three days after the New York Mets showed their support for the city in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings by playing "Sweet Caroline" at the All-Star game, the Red Sox thanked the Yankees by playing "New York, New York."
The Yankees made their first visit to Fenway Park this season for the first game after the break, and Robinson Cano played after being hit on the knee by a pitch in the All-Star game. But the lineup barely resembled the team New Yorkers thought would be wearing pinstripes at this point in the season.
Jeter was placed on the disabled list before the game - he's spent all but one game there this season - and the Yankees are also missing third baseman Alex Rodriguez , first baseman Mark Teixeira (wrist surgery), outfielder Curtis Granderson (broken pinkie) and catcher Francisco Cervelli (broken hand).
The lineup was further depleted when left fielder Zoilo Almonte came out of the game in the fifth inning with a left ankle sprain; X-rays were negative. And center fielder Brett Gardner took himself out when, after being called out on a 3-2 pitch to end the top of the fifth, he slammed his helmet on the ground and was ejected by home plate umpire Mike Everitt.
"I have to have better control of my emotions. I put us in a bad spot and caused some guys to play out of position," Gardner said. "I was frustrated. I feel I let the team down and I'm sorry for that."
That left the Yankees ill-equipped to come back after Boston took a 3-0 lead on the homers.
New York made it 3-1 when Gardner walked, stole second and scored when he stole third and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia 's throw went into left field. Chris Stewart doubled home Overbay in the fifth to cut the deficit to one run.
The Red Sox added a run in the seventh, then Ichiro Suzuki singled over the shortstop's glove and Cano doubled to put runners on second and third with one out in the eighth. But Craig Breslow got Vernon Wells to fly out weakly to short and Luis Cruz grounded to shortstop; Jose Iglesias ' throw pulled first baseman Mike Napoli off the bag, but he made the tag for the third out.
Notes: The Yankees put Jeter on the disabled list before the game with a strained right quadriceps. ... The Yankees signed INF Brent Lillibridge from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. ... Pettitte had allowed just 19 hits in 100 at-bats against lefties coming into the game before Ellsbury hit a leadoff homer. It was the third homer against him by a lefty in his last four starts. ... Boston OF Shane Victorino left the game with left hamstring tightness. ... It was the latest the Yankees have played their first game of the season at Fenway, except for the strike-shortened season of 1981. ... The Red Sox placed RHP Andrew Bailey on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to July 13) with a right shoulder strain. To fill his spot on the 25-man roster, right-hander Jose De La Torre was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.