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Yankees Hope Sabathia Can Keep Red Sox At Bay

(Sports Network) - The Boston Red Sox are trying to keep pace in the AL East and they can make up more ground today, as they resume a crucial four-game set with the despised New York Yankees in the Bronx.

On Friday, Ryan Kalish and David Ortiz each homered and Clay Buchholz pitched effectively into the eighth inning to lead Boston over New York, 6-3, in the opener of this series at Yankee Stadium.

Buchholz (12-5) shook off a two-run homer by Mark Teixeira in the first inning and ended up scattering nine hits over his 7 1/3-inning start, walking none and striking out four while giving up three runs.

"[Buchholz] was tremendous. Any time you look up and you get that deep into the game, you're doing something right," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of his starter. "He pounded the strike zone and stayed down."

Daniel Bard recorded the final two outs of the eighth, and Jonathan Papelbon closed it out in the ninth to get Boston's 10-game road trip started on the right foot.

The Red Sox entered the set coming off a four-game split against the lowly Cleveland Indians and trailed the front-running Yankees by six games.

They were able to inch a game closer by knocking around Javier Vazquez (9-8), who surrendered six runs -- three earned -- on six hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings to take the loss, New York's fourth in five games.

Robinson Cano had three hits in defeat, while Mark Teixeira smacked his 24th home run of the campaign. The Yanks are only a half-game ahead of the Rays in the division standings.

New York will try to respond today behind ace CC Sabathia, who is 7-0 at home this year and hasn't lost a regular-season game at Yankee Stadium since July 2nd, 2009 against Seattle.

The left-hander, however, has fallen in each of his last two outings, both on the road, including a 3-0 setback at Tampa Bay on Sunday. In that game, Sabathia allowed three earned runs and eight hits over 6 2/3 innings. He hasn't dropped three straight starts since April 5-16, 2008 while with Cleveland.

Sabathia has made 14 career starts against Boston, posting an even 5-5 record with a 3.56 ERA. In three starts versus the Red Sox this season, he has yet to receive a decision while sporting a 4.76 ERA.

John Lackey will try to rebound from a poor start, as he takes the hill for Boston today. On Monday, the right-hander gave up six earned runs and nine hits while walking five in a 6-5 loss to the Indians. He had been 1-0 with a 1.61 ERA in his prior three starts.

In his career against the Yankees, Lackey is 5-7 with a 4.40 ERA over 17 starts. He has faced New York just once this season, tossing six scoreless innings in an eventual 3-1 loss back on April 7th.

New York has won five of its nine meetings with the Red Sox this season.