Lester five-hits Yankees

July 3, 2008 7:52:29 PM PDT
Jon Lester pitched a sharp five-hitter while the Boston Red Sox roughed up Andy Pettitte, beating the New York Yankees, 7-0, on Thursday night to end a five-game losing streak.A throwing error by shortstop Derek Jeter gave the Red Sox a quick lead. Coco Crisp came back from a five-game suspension to score twice, and it was 6-0 by the fifth inning.

Both AL East powers went into the opener of this four-game series in the rare position of chasing Tampa Bay. There was no scoreboard watching - the division-leading Rays were off.

The last time Boston and the Yankees played after Memorial Day with neither team in first place? September 1997, the Elias Sports Bureau said.

Lester (7-3) made his most impressive start since pitching a no-hitter against Kansas City on May 19. He struck out eight, walked two and won his fourth straight decision.

Lester's lone problem came when he walked Johnny Damon and Jeter to start the game, but the lefty escaped by getting Bobby Abreu on a grounder and striking out Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi.

New York went quietly after that and lost for the fourth time in five games. A day after the Yankees scored 18 runs, the sellout crowd had little to cheer - Rodriguez, whose friendship with Madonna has made for tabloid headlines, heard scattered boos after striking out.

Pettitte (9-6) never looked comfortable and lasted just 4 2-3 innings as his six-game winning streak came ended.

Pettitte shouted at himself as he walked off the mound after giving up two runs in the first inning. He slipped to 15-7 against the Red Sox - even minus injured David Ortiz, the starters in Boston's lineup were hitting a combined .359 lifetime against him.

Almost from the get-go, Pettitte was in trouble.

Dustin Pedroia and J.D. Drew singled with one out in the first and Manny Ramirez hit a grounder that could have been an inning-ending double play. But Jeter's relay skipped into the stands, scoring a run, and Mike Lowell followed with an RBI single.

A sacrifice bunt by Julio Lugo set up Jacoby Ellsbury's bloop, two-run double in the second for a 4-0 lead.

Lugo added a sacrifice fly in the fourth, Lowell had a sacrifice fly in the fifth and Jason Varitek snapped an 0-for-19 slump with an RBI single in the eighth.

Crisp hit leadoff singles in his first two at-bats and scored both times in his first action since serving a five-game suspension for his part in a Tampa Bay-Boston brawl last month.