The Boston Red Sox were on the verge of getting swept by their arch-rival on Sunday, before ultimately defeating the New York Yankees.
Behind a nice offensive output, Boston (16-16) pulled back to .500 on the year, but remain a distance from the Yankees and division leading Tampa Bay.
Boston had been the victim of two blowout losses to New York, losing 10-3 on Friday and 14-3 on Saturday. The team was in desperate need of a solid outing from their starting pitching, and in need of generating runs.
They got both in a 9-3 victory, behind Jon Lester’s continued steady performances throughout the 2010 MLB season.
“Regardless of what the team does the day before or the week before, I’m determined to go out and pitch well,” said Lester after the game. “Obviously, the past two days haven’t been too much fun, but it was nice to go out there and at least get one from these guys.”
Lester went seven strong innings, surrendering only two earned runs on the day.
A week ago, the Red Sox were swept by division opponent Baltimore and were on the verge of collapsing. Lester came the rescue however by going eight innings against the Los Angeles Angels in a 5-1 victory to stop the bleeding.
Charged with a similar assignment against New York, Lester delivered.
In his last four outings, Lester is 3-0, with an ERA of less than one, and has struck out 30. It is a far cry from the 8.44 ERA he had before the four-game stretch.
“There’s that hump that he seems to have to get over every year,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said after the game, “but once he gets over it, he’s OK.”
On the other side of the diamond, the Yankees threw A.J Burnett (4-1) and he endured his first loss of the season, courtesy of the arch-rival. He lasted just 4 1/3 innings and allowed all nine Boston runs.
“I don’t want to take anything away from these guys, but I think I would have had a bad start no matter who I faced,” Burnett said after the game. “I just put the ball over the plate. I felt like I had a good hook tonight, but I didn’t have a good heater.”
Alex Rodriguez tabbed his 586th career home run, and is now in a tie for seventh place with Frank Robinson on the all-time homer list.
“It’s good,” Rodriguez remarked. “I’ve said always that when I retire I’ll look back on those things.”
In spite of a few times during the game when the Yankees got the better of Lester, the Boston pitcher was unfazed, and continued his dominant ways of late.
New York took two of three from the Red Sox on the road, which is not a good sign for Boston. The defending World Series champion Yankees continue to remain the betting favorites to repeat their title on Online Sportsbooks.