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Surging Sox roll past Yankees
Boston's David Ortiz celebrates scoring on a single by Jonny Gomes in the third inning of Saturday's game. (REUTERS/Dominick Reuter)
Getting ahead of batters and not putting them away. Leaving the ball up in the zone. His cutter not being too sharp.
Lester allowed just three hits over eight brilliant innings and the Red Sox continued their September surge with a 5-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Saturday.
Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes each had two hits for the first-place Red Sox, who jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in rolling to their 10th win this month and 16th in their past 20 games.
The Yankees have lost six of their past 10 games, five coming against Boston, to fall 11 1/2 games back in the division and 2 1/2 behind the Rays in their push for the playoffs.
The left-hander continued his recent run of dominance, allowing just one run while retiring nine of the final 10 batters he faced. He didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning, and finished with five strikeouts and two walks to improve to 4-1 with a 1.81 ERA in his past six starts.
He continues to look more and more like the pitcher who started the season 6-0 in his first nine outings than the guy who took the mound between May 20 and Aug. 14. During that rough stretch, a span of 16 starts, Lester was just 4-7 with a 5.29 ERA.
Catcher David Ross credited Boston's starters for putting the team in the comfortable position it's currently in.
Meanwhile, fellow southpaw CC Sabathia still can't solve the Red Sox.
Sabathia yielded five runs on nine hits over six innings, striking out five and walking four in falling to 10-11 with a 4.72 ERA in 27 career starts against Boston.
Napoli opened the second inning with a single and advanced to second on a throwing error by third baseman Mark Reynolds. After a walk to Gomes, Napoli moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on a groundout by Will Middlebrooks.
Dustin Pedroia singled to lead off the third and scored on a double by David Ortiz. Napoli then continued his sizzling September with a single to left and trotted home on a base hit by Gomes.
Boston's blistering offense answered in the fourth when Ross singled and later scored on a base hit by Victorino. A sacrifice fly by Daniel Nava in the fifth made it 5-1.
"I don't ever take my foot off the throttle. I'm trying to get you out with every pitch."