Jon Lester got his second straight win as the Boston Red Sox defeated the American League-leading New York Yankees 4-1 and even their three-game weekend series.
Lester (7-10) allowed five hits and struck out four in seven innings yesterday at Yankee Stadium. Alfredo Aceves gave up one hit and struck out one in the ninth for his 25th save.
“It’s always gratifying to see the fruits of your labor, for lack of a better term,” Lester told reporters. “It’s been a grinding season.” Yesterday’s performance cut the left-hander’s earned run average this season to 5.03, compared to his career 3.74 mark.
David Phelps (3-4) gave up three runs on seven hits and struck out seven in 6 2/3 innings in taking the loss.
Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the first inning to give the Red Sox a 2-0 advantage. Nick Punto added a run-scoring double in the fifth and Scott Podsednik reached home plate on Cody Eppley’s wild pitch in the ninth.
“We still have it,” said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. “We’ve had it. We’ve got it. We just haven’t used it as often and saved it up.”
The Red Sox (59-62) are in fourth place in the five-team AL East, 12 ½ games behind the Yankees (71-49).
Curtis Granderson hit his 32nd home run of the season in the fourth inning for the Yankees’ only score. The previous night the Yankees slammed five home runs against the Red Sox to take the first of the three games 6-4.