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American League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, April 23rd (All times Eastern)
New York Yankees (12-8) at Boston Red Sox (9-12), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Michael Pineda (2-1, 1.00) Boston - John Lackey (2-2, 5.25)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Michael Pineda tries to continue his terrific start to the season on Wednesday when the New York Yankees play the middle test of a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Pineda won his second straight start last Wednesday against Chicago, as he held the Cubs to just four hits over six scoreless innings to run his record to 2-0, while lowering his ERA to 1.00. He is the first Yankee since Kevin Brown in 2004 to throw at least six innings and allow one run or less in each of his first three starts for the club.
"Again, really, really good," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Command of his pitches, command of his changeup, his slider tonight. It wasn't the best conditions to pitch in, but I thought he did a really good job."
Pineda beat the Red Sox two starts ago, yielding a run in six innings. Of course, television cameras showed what appeared to be pine tar on his right palm of that one. However, it was never brought to anyone's attention and seemed to be cleaned off a few innings later.
Boston, meanwhile, will counter with righty John Lackey, who has lost his last two starts and is 2-2 with a 5.25 ERA. After getting hit hard by the Yankees two starts ago, Lackey again struggled on Friday against Baltimore, as he was tagged for six runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings.
He also walked four batters, more than he had allowed in his three previous outings, when he gave up three over 18 2/3 innings.
"Honestly, they had a couple walks, but they were in spots that wasn't that big a deal, against guys I didn't really want to give in to," Lackey said. "I felt OK with it."
Lackey surrendered six runs in 5 2/3 innings in a loss to the Yanks on April 12 and is 10-11 lifetime against them with a 4.99 ERA in 28 starts.
New York got the best of its rivals in Tuesday's opener, as Jacoby Ellsbury gave the Red Sox fans an unwanted welcome back in his return to Fenway Park, going 2-for-5 with two RBI to help the Yankees to a 9-3 rout.
Ellsbury, part of two World Series titles during a successful seven-year tenure with the Red Sox, tripled in his first at-bat as a Fenway visitor and later drove in two with a double that highlighted a four-run fifth inning. The star outfielder bolted Boston for a seven-year, $153 million contract with New York during the offseason.
Three other Yankee newcomers made big contributions as well, as Masahiro Tanaka yielded just two runs and fanned seven over 7 1/3 innings in another strong start, while Brian McCann went 3-for-4 with an RBI double and Carlos Beltran finished 2-for-5 with a homer and two RBI.
New York has now won six of its last nine games.
Tanaka (3-0) allowed back-to-back homers to David Ortiz and Mike Napoli in the fourth, but just five other hits in his first-ever encounter with the Red Sox.
On the other hand, the Yankees battered Boston ace Jon Lester (2-3) for 11 hits and eight runs -- though just three were earned due to a pair of Red Sox errors -- in 4 2/3 innings of work.
Napoli ended 2-for-4 and Xander Bogaerts had an RBI double in the loss.
"(New York) put some good swings on him," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Lester's performance. "They mishit some balls, they found some holes. We didn't help out defensively and once again we're digging ourself a hole to play catch-up."
New York took three of four from the Red Sox earlier this season.
Prior to the game Meb Keflezighi, the men's winner of the 118th Boston Marathon and the first American to win the championship since 1983, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
04/23 10:24:21 ET