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Lester eyes first win, as Red Sox continue set with Yanks
(SportsNetwork.com) - Jon Lester takes another crack at his first win of the season on Friday when the Boston Red Sox continue a four-game series with the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Lester has pitched well his first two times out, but was on the losing end both times. In fact, he has allowed four earned runs in 14 1/3 innings (2.51 ERA), while striking out 14 and walking two.
However, he has received just one run of support all season.
That was the case on Sunday against Milwaukee, as he allowed four runs (2 earned) in 7 1/3 frames of a 4-0 loss.
"He was just cruising. He knew how well he was pitching," catcher David Ross said. "I don't know if he tired out at the end, but his balls weren't as sharp as they could be. One ball found a hole, a little cutter to give up that third run. That was a big one."
Lester has faced the Yankees 26 times and is 11-5 against them with a 3.96 ERA.
New York, meanwhile, will counter with a formidable lefty of its own in CC Sabathia, who is 1-1 with a 7.50 ERA. Sabathia bounced back from an awful Opening Day start to beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, as he gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings.
"It felt pretty good," said Sabathia, who retired 16 of 17 batters at one point. "I'd take two pitches back in that sixth inning, but other than that, I felt I pitched pretty good."
Sabathia is just 10-11 in 27 starts versus the Red Sox with a 4.72 ERA.
New York can only hope Sabathia delivers the way Michael Pineda did in the opener. Pineda turned in six-plus sharp innings to earn his first major league win in nearly 33 months, and the Yankees pulled out a 4-1 verdict.
Jacoby Ellsbury, facing his former team for the first time since bolting the defending World Series champion Red Sox for a seven-year, $153 million contract with the Yankees over the winter, contributed an RBI single and a run scored.
Free-agent pickup Brian McCann also singled in a run, while rookie Dean Anna belted his first big-league homer in the victory.
Still, the star of the game was Pineda (1-1), who missed two full seasons with shoulder problems after being acquired by the Yankees from Seattle in January of 2012. The right-hander held Boston to one run -- a Daniel Nava homer in the seventh -- and four hits while striking out seven.
"His location was really good, he mixed his pitches really well," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "He gave us some good distance on a night when he really needed it, so there were a lot of [positives]."
Pineda's last win in the majors came with Seattle on July 30, 2011.
"I'm so happy tonight," he said. "It was my first time pitching at Yankee Stadium, so I was very, very excited tonight."
There was some controversy, though, as television cameras seemed to pick up a substance on Pineda's wrist during the first four innings. However, by the fifth inning it was completely cleaned off and he was never examined.
"I don't use pine tar," Pineda insisted. "It's dirt. I'm sweating on my hand too much in-between innings."
Boston starter Clay Buchholz (0-1) bounced back from an awful season debut to toss six solid innings, but was hung with the loss after permitting four runs -- two earned -- while fanning six.
"I felt a lot better," Buchholz said. "I felt a lot more comfortable with each pitch out there. I've got to minimize damage a little bit more in a couple of spots. Other than that, I felt like I threw the ball pretty well."
Xander Bogaerts collected two of the Red Sox' four hits in the loss.
Boston was 13-6 versus the Yankees last season.
04/11 09:49:41 ET
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