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Saturday, September 14, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 5, Yankees 1

By Joe McDonald

BOSTON -- The best record in baseball continues to get better.

The Boston Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees 5-1 on Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park to improve to 91-59. With the win, Boston has won 32 series this season and leads the majors in that category.

Jon Lester continues to pitch well and improved to 14-8 in his 31st start of the season. The left-hander worked eight innings and allowed only one run on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts. He tossed 115 pitches (79 strikes).

Each season, Lester sets a goal to reach 200 innings, and he surpassed that mark Saturday. He has worked 201 1/3 innings this season. The most he logged was 210 1/3 innings in 2008 when he posted a 16-6 record with a 3.21 ERA in 33 starts.

On Saturday, Lester outdueled Yankees starter CC Sabathia. The New York lefty worked six innings and allowed five runs on nine hits with four walks and five strikeouts. He threw 110 pitches (70 strikes). Boston has won 10 consecutive games when facing a left-handed starter.

With Lester dialed in, his teammates gave him the early lead.

Using a bit of small-ball action, the Red Sox gained a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the second inning. Mike Napoli led off with a single and reached second on a throwing error by Yankees third baseman Mark Reynolds. After Jonny Gomes drew a walk, Daniel Nava dropped a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. Will Middlebrooks grounded out to short but was able to push the run across.

Meanwhile, Lester retired the first nine batters he faced.

The Red Sox added to their lead with two runs in the bottom of the third inning. Again, small ball proved crucial. Dustin Pedroia led off with a single, and Shane Victorino executed a sacrifice bunt before David Ortiz provided an opposite-field RBI double for a 2-0 lead. Napoli followed and collected his second hit of game. Gomes added an RBI single for a 3-0 advantage.

New York pushed across its only run of the game in the top of the fourth inning. Curtis Granderson led off with a triple to deep center field and scored on a one-out groundout by Robinson Cano.

The Red Sox continued to slowly pick away at the Yankees.

Victorino’s RBI single in the fourth inning gave Boston a 4-1 lead before Nava’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth inning increased the Sox’s lead to 5-1.

For the second consecutive start, Lester worked eight innings. He ended Saturday's outing with a solid defensive play, snaring a hard chopper back to the mound by Reynolds.

Red Sox lefty reliever Franklin Morales retired the side in order in the top of the ninth inning.

UP NEXT: Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz will make his second start Sunday night since being activated from the disabled list Tuesday. The right-hander is 10-0 with a 1.61 ERA. The Yankees will send righty Ivan Nova (8-4, 3.17) to the mound in the series and season finale. Buchholz is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two starts against the Yankees this season.