It was the second straight loss for the Yankees (79-70), who are vying for one of the two wild-card playoff spots that go to non-division-winning teams in each league. The Texas Rangers (81-66) and Tampa Bay Rays (80-66) lead the wild-card standings, with the Cleveland Indians (80-68), Yankees, Baltimore Orioles (78-70) and Kansas City Royals (78-70) close behind.
Texas lost 1-0 to the Oakland Athletics; Tampa Bay beat the Minnesota Twins 7-0; Baltimore fell 4-3 to the Toronto Blue Jays; Cleveland defeated the Chicago White Sox 8-1; and the Royals topped the Detroit Tigers 1-0.
Lester (14-8) held the Yankees to three hits and struck out five. CC Sabathia (13-13) took the loss after allowing five runs on nine hits while striking out five.
“I believe in myself, these guys believe in me and I knew going through what I went through in the middle of the year it was just a matter of time that things would take care of themselves,” Lester told reporters.
Mike Napoli scored on Will Middlebrooks’s ground-out in the first inning. David Ortiz hit a run-scoring double and then reached home on Jonny Gomes’ single in the third inning to give Boston (91-59) a 3-0 lead at Fenway Park.
Curtis Granderson scored on Robinson Cano’s single in the fourth for the Yankees’ only run.
Shane Victorino had a run-scoring single in the fourth inning for the Red Sox, while Napoli added a run on Daniel Nava’s sacrifice in the fifth.
Boston has won the first two games of this three-game series after taking three-of-four from the Yankees last weekend.
Yankees outfielder Alfonso Soriano is day-to-day after being scratched from today’s lineup with a sprained right thumb. Soriano, who rejoined the Yankees on July 26 in a trade with the Chicago Cubs, is batting .251 with 46 hits, 47 runs driven in and 15 home runs in 46 games with New York.
“It was bothering him yesterday but they said it was OK,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. “Today it was worse. I’m not sure why. It’s hard to figure out.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at firstname.lastname@example.org