(SportsNetwork.com) - Just two games out of first in the American League East, the New York Yankees shoot for their third straight win Saturday as they prepare for another classic battle against the Boston Red Sox in the Bronx.
On Friday the Yankees, who trail both Toronto and Baltimore in the standings, unleashed their sixth shutout of the campaign as they blanked Boston, 6-0, a day after Derek Jeter's 40th birthday. The captain celebrated by registering a pair of hits and scoring once, leaving him 10 hits shy of 3,400 for his career.
Brian McCann, Brett Gardner and Kelly Johnson each hit home runs for the hosts, with the former also scoring twice as the Yankees evened their home record at 18-18.
Vidal Nuno was credited with the win, permitting just a pair of hits and issuing two walks, while striking out five over 5 2/3 innings.
"It's a confidence booster, to show that I can still belong here and attack these guys," said Nuno.
Nuno's counterpart, Brandon Workman, allowed four runs on seven hits and two bases-on-balls in his seven innings for the Sox, who are now eight games under .500 overall and a mere 16-25 outside of Beantown. Workman also struck out five, while his offense generated a mere three hits and fanned nine times.
"We felt like, coming into this ballgame, we had a chance to do something against their starter, but he made some pitches against us," Red Sox manager John Farrell noted.
Seeking to take his current win streak to three in a row, Jon Lester heads to the mound for the visitors tonight in the Bronx. Lester, who has a career mark of 12-6 with a 3.96 ERA in 28 all-time appearances versus the Yankees, has actually won four of his last five decisions overall.
Last weekend the left-hander was part of what turned into a 7-6 victory over Oakland in California, but he failed to factor into the decision. Lester made it through 7 2/3 innings, permitting two earned runs on four hits and a pair of walks, while striking out four in order to lift his strikeout total on the season to 109.
Lester was roughed up a bit in his last meeting with New York as he lasted only 4 2/3 innings, giving up eight runs, although just three were earned. He permitted 11 hits and issued four walks, yet also managed to fan seven Yankees.
Yankees hurler Masahiro Tanaka has just two defeats on the season, yet one of those came on Sunday when he was crushed by Baltimore at home in an 8-0 thrashing. The rookie right-hander, who has been penciled in to counter Lester, allowed three runs on six hits and a walk in seven innings. Tanaka fanned a respectable six, but considering he had a total of 21 Ks in his two previous efforts, that numbers was somewhat disappointing.
The Japanese native clashed with Boston for the first time back on April 22 at Fenway Park, picking up the win as he scattered seven hits, leading to only two runs, while posting seven strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings.
The Yankees won three of four against Boston in the first series of the season in the Bronx back in early April and then captured two of three at Fenway a few weeks later which means New York is ahead in the season series by a count of 6-2.