The hits are coming throughout the lineup for the Boston Red Sox as they bear down on their first division title since 2007.
It's an experience CC Sabathia knows all too well pitching at Fenway Park this year.
The Red Sox try to further Sabathia's misery in Boston on Saturday when they continue their series against the New York Yankees .
Boston (90-59) has won eight of 10 to pull away in the AL East, and Friday night's 8-4 victory maintained its 8 1/2-game edge over Tampa Bay. In the last nine games, the Red Sox have belted 22 home runs and scored 77 runs while compiling a .307 average.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia provided the decisive blow with a tiebreaking grand slam and was one of five players with two hits. The catcher is 3 for 6 with two homers in his last two games and 4 for 7 with two doubles this year versus Sabathia."That's what is making this season fun," Red Sox slugger David Ortiz said after going 2 for 3. "You're not talking about a team that depends on one guy. I know that everybody has to be careful with myself, but there are plenty of guys."
Ortiz is batting .370 in 14 games versus the Yankees this year, with 11 of his 20 hits going for extra bases. He's only 2 for 8 against Sabathia (13-12, 4.82 ERA) in 2013, but the rest of the lineup has picked him up at Fenway - tagging the left-hander for 13 runs and 16 hits over 10 1-3 innings in two games.
That inconsistency has plagued Sabathia all season. He set a career high in losses after Baltimore reached him for four runs and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 4-2 defeat Monday. It was the 12th consecutive outing he has yielded at least three runs, further distancing him from his previous career high of six set in 2011.
Even with his struggles at Fenway, he labored to a win there Aug. 18, giving up six runs and seven hits with five walks in 5 1-3 innings of a 9-6 victory. Sabathia, 2-1 despite a 7.15 ERA in four starts versus the Red Sox this year, is 8-6 in 19 outings against them with the Yankees.
Friday's loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Yankees (79-69), who were overtaken by Cleveland in the wild-card race and dropped two games behind the Rays for the second spot. Robinson Cano went 4 for 4 with three doubles and two RBIs for New York, which has been outscored 106-82 in losing 11 of 17 to Boston."They've got a very good team over there," Yankees star Alex Rodriguez said. "They're a handful right now."
While Cano upped his lifetime average at Fenway to .347, he's had limited success against Jon Lester (13-8, 3.86), going 17 for 66 with 14 strikeouts.
Lester worked in and out of trouble in the Bronx last Sunday, not getting a decision after allowing three runs and 10 hits while stranding eight runners in eight innings of New York's eventual 4-3 walkoff win.
He is 1-1 with a 4.19 ERA in three starts against the Yankees this year - all on the road - but has not beaten them at home in four starts since 2010.
Red Sox closer Koji Uehara will hope to get an opportunity to extend his electric run of shutting opponents down. He pitched a 1-2-3 ninth Friday and has retired 37 straight batters - 17 by strikeout - for the longest run by a reliever since Bobby Jenks set down 41 in a row for the Chicago White Sox in 2007.
Lyle Overbay 's double on Aug. 17 was the last hit Uehara allowed.
|Jackie Bradley Jr.||1||.000||0||0||0||2||1||.667||.667||.000|
|New York Yankees|
|September 12, 2013||Brett Gardner||Day-to-Day||Left game - Oblique|
|September 08, 2013||Derek Jeter||15-Day DL||Left ankle soreness|
|September 08, 2013||Chris Stewart||Day-to-Day||Left game - left foot contusion|
|September 07, 2013||Vidal Nuno||60-Day DL||Strained left groin|
|September 07, 2013||Derek Jeter||Day-to-Day||Left ankle|
|September 06, 2013||Corban Joseph||60-Day DL||Recovery from right shoulder surgery|
|Boston Red Sox|
|September 01, 2013||Shane Victorino||Day-to-Day||Left hip contusion|
|August 29, 2013||Mike Carp||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder irritation|
|August 17, 2013||Mike Napoli||Day-to-Day||Sore left foot|
|August 08, 2013||Brandon Snyder||15-Day DL||Ulnar neuritis, right elbow|
|August 08, 2013||Brandon Snyder||15-Day DL||Ulnar neuritis, right elbow|
|August 05, 2013||Matt Thornton||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
BOSTON (AP) -- Jon Lester is proving he's Boston's ace again.
Lester pitched eight dominant innings, and the AL East-leading Red Sox dealt the New York Yankees ' wild-card hopes another blow with a 5-1 win on Saturday.
The 29-year old left-hander is 6-3 since mid-July with a 2.52 ERA in 12 starts after a rough stretch midway through the season.
"What he's done since the All Star break has been consistent with how he's started the season," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "A well above-average pitcher, a front-line starter and that's what Jon Lester is."
Lester (14-8) was solid from the start, mixing a sharp cutter with a well-spotted, mid-90s fastball. He allowed one run and three hits, striking out five and walking two for his fourth win in six starts.
Midway through the season, he went 0-4 in six starts with a 7.20 ERA.
"I knew after what I went through at the middle of the year that it's just a matter of time and things will take care of itself," he said. "I think anytime you take someone that's had some success, your confidence is high. When you struggle, that kind of varies from certain starts."
Mike Napoli , Jonny Gomes and Shane Victorino each had two hits as the surging Red Sox won for the 16th time in 19 games, and beat the Yankees for the fifth time in six meetings in just over a week.
Napoli, in his first season with the Red Sox, has seen the best of Lester from the opposite side.
"I remember facing him when he had his changeup, it's tough because he'd throw that cutter in on your hands and a changeup strike when he's just pounding you inside all the time," he said. "He's been doing great. You can see he's confident out there. He's just getting the ball and throwing."
The Yankees lost their second straight after a three-game winning streak and fell 2 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay for the AL's second wild-card spot. The Rays play at Minnesota on Saturday night.
"You have to find a way to get it done is the bottom line," New York manager Joe Girardi said of facing Lester. "He's been throwing the ball well. He threw it well against us last time and he did it again today, but you've still got to find a way."
Boston entered the day with an 8 1/2-game lead over second-place Tampa Bay.
The Red Sox (91-59) improved to a season-high 32 games over .500, their best mark since the final day of their World Series championship season in 2004.
Franklin Morales worked a perfect ninth.
For the second time in week, Boston goes for a sweep against New York. Last weekend, the Red Sox won the initial three of a four-game set at Yankee Stadium but lost the finale.
The Red Sox built a 5-1 lead against CC Sabathia (13-13) after five innings.
"I felt like I was behind everybody and got into some tough counts," Sabathia said. "With a team like they have, when you get behind and in a hitter's count, you're going to give up some hard-hit balls."
Will Middlebrooks ' run-scoring grounder gave Boston a 1-0 edge in the second. Napoli singled before moving up on a walk and sacrifice.
In the third, David Ortiz had an RBI double and Gomes added a run-scoring single. Sabathia then fanned the next two hitters with runners on first and third.
Lester breezed through the first nine batters, holding the Yankees hitless before Curtis Granderson tripled off the center field wall leading off the fourth. He scored on Robinson Cano 's bouncer to first to make it 3-1. But Victorino had a two-out RBI single in the bottom half.
Sabathia went six innings, allowing five runs on nine hits, walking four and striking out five. He's 4-6 with a 6.48 ERA in his last three seasons against the Red Sox.
Daniel Nava 's sacrifice fly increased it to it 5-1.
NOTES: Yankees OF Alfonso Soriano was a late scratch with a sprained right thumb and is listed as day to day. He was scheduled to bat cleanup, so Alex Rodriguez was dropped from second to fourth and Vernon Wells moved from right field to left. Ichiro Suzuki , who was not scheduled to be in the lineup, was inserted in right and batted eighth. "It was bothering him yesterday, but it got worse today," Girardi said. ... The Yankees activated RHP David Phelps (strained right forearm) from the 60-day DL and moved Derek Jeter (sore left ankle) to the 60-day DL before the game. "Probably a one-inning guy, not much longer," Girardi said of Phelps' role. "He didn't really get a chance to build up (his arm strength) to be a long guy." ... Farrell said LHP Felix Doubront will throw a side session Sunday, a simulated game Tuesday and "likely in the Toronto series (next weekend) in a starting role." Farrell also said Doubront hasn't been used due to "fatigue." ... Ivan Nova (8-4, 3.17 ERA) goes for the Yankees in the series finale against Clay Buchholz (10-0, 1.61 ERA) on Sunday night. Buchholz will be making his second start since coming off the DL. He was out since early June with a strained neck. ... Boston improved to 12-6 against New York.