Jon Lester shut down the Yankees' offense for seven innings, Adrian Gonzalez provided an early lead with a two-run homer and the Boston Red Sox beat New York 4-1 Saturday for a badly needed win.
Yankees nemesis Pedro Ciriaco was 4 for 4, raising his average against New York this year to .517 (15 for 29), and Boston reliever Craig Breslow and catcher Ryan Lavarnway became what is thought to be the first all-Yale battery in the major leagues since 1883.
The fourth-place Red Sox won for just the fourth time in 11 games as they try to right their foundering season.
Lester (7-10) won consecutive starts for the first time since mid-May, allowing five hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Curtis Granderson homered in the fourth for the Yankees' only run, then doubled leading off the seventh only to be stranded on third.
Before defeating Cleveland 14-1 last Sunday, Lester had gone 0-5 with a 7.49 ERA in seven starts from the start of July. He had trouble locating at first and needed 24 pitches to get through his opening inning, when Derek Jeter's walk and Nick Swisher's single gave the Yankees two on with no outs. He struck out Robinson Cano, retired Andruw Jones on a slow bouncer to third and fanned Casey McGehee.
After Andrew Bailey started the eighth and gave up a one-out single to Swisher, Breslow induced an inning-ending, double-play grounder from Cano, who is in a 1-for-21 skid.
Ryan Lavarnway was behind the plate, and according to STATS LLC and baseballreference.com, the only previous all-Yale battery was in 1883 when the Philadelphia Athletics' Jack Jones pitched to Al Hubbard. The Red Sox said they had been talking with Yale in recent days and had not yet been able to confirm that.
Alfredo Aceves pitched the ninth for his 25th save in 31 chances.
David Phelps (3-4), making his second spot start while CC Sabathia is on the disabled list, gave up three runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings, struck out seven and walked none. He fanned Cody Ross three times, all on breaking balls.
Swisher had three hits and is hitting .348 (16 for 46) since he was moved into the No. 2 slot in the batting order.
Boston moved ahead right away. Carl Crawford singled with one out in the first and stole second, and with two outs Gonzalez homered into the left-field seats.
Granderson's 32nd homer — his 11th off a left-hander — cut the deficit in the fourth.
Boston came right back in the fifth when Ciriaco singled with one out and scored on Nick Punto's double into the right-field corner.
Punto helped Lester avoid trouble in the fifth. Ichiro Suzuki singled with one out and stole second, and Jeter hit a hard one-hopper to third. The ball bounced off Punto's glove into the air, and he grabbed the ball with his bare hand and threw to first for the out. Swisher then struck out on a check swing.
Ciriaco doubled in the ninth, sending Scott Podsednik to third, and Cody Eppley threw a run-scoring wild pitch.