The Red Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Yankees in New York on Sunday, finally reaching the .500 mark for the first time in 2011.
For the first two innings, Jon Lester was the same pitcher Red Sox fans give up five runs to the Blue Jays. Unable to locate his cutter, Lester offered up some tempting pitches to the Yankees, who were more than happy to hit them. After hitting the back of Derek Jeter's foot with a curveball to start the first inning, a pair of singles gave Lester his first earned run. A pair of homers to Andruw Jones and Curtis Granderson in the second upped the count to four early runs off the ace.
The Red Sox were not about to let another chance at .500 go to waste so soon, however, battling back in the top half of the first to tie the game on a bases loaded sacrifice fly from Jed Lowrie, and then again in the third thanks to a three-run shot from Kevin Youkilis off of Yankee starter Freddy Garcia.
After the second inning, Lester seemed to settle down, retiring the side in order in the third and picking off Brett Gardner to end the fourth inning with the fourth batter at the plate. After a solid fifth, Lester again seemed to struggle with command as his pitch count rose, walking two men to put the tying run in scoring position, but again got Gardner out to end the threat, this time on a pop-up.
In the meantime, the Red Sox had managed to grab the lead in the fifth on David Ortiz' seventh homer of the season. After Lester escaped the sixth, they added to it when A-Rod let a weak ground ball pass harmlessly between his legs, allowing a fist-pumping Dustin Pedroia to score from second. This kept the Yankees behind and Lester in line for a win when Rodriguez made up for his error with a hard-hit ground ball double to left that Carl Crawford misplayed, allowing Brett Gardner to score from first.
The Sox found an unlikely source of insurance when Jarrod Saltalamacchia collected his first home run of the year off of Joba Chamberlain to go ahead 7-5, but they would not need it. Daniel Bard finished the seventh inning, then pitched a long but scoreless eighth inning to set up Jonathan Papelbon against Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez. A strikeout and two ground balls later, and the Red Sox finally reached .500 with a sweep of the Yankees.