BOSTON (AP) - The Red Sox and Yankees played another long game Thursday night. Boston starter Jon Lester was not surprised.
The teams needed 4 hours, 21 minutes, to score six runs in nine innings as New York won 4-2. But with plenty of offensive talent on both teams, there are few easy outs.
``People wonder why we play 4-hour games with the Yankees,' Lester said. ``It's right there in front of you. Every at-bat is a grind every time both teams step in the box. Both teams' offenses are so good.'
The Yankees won the series opener 5-2 in 3:59. The Red Sox took Wednesday night's game 9-5 in 3:16.
In one key at-bat on Thursday, Andruw Jones drew a walk on 14 pitches with one out in the seventh. Jesus Montero then was hit by a pitch, Russell Martin doubled in two runs for a 3-2 Yankees lead and pinch-hitter Eric Chavez singled home another.
Lester left after throwing 114 pitches in five innings.
``They worked Lester for 43 pitches in the first inning, almost to the point where I had to get somebody up,' Boston manager Terry Francona said.
The Yankees moved within a half-game of the first-place Red Sox in the AL East by winning two of three in the series. New York is 4-11 against Boston this season, and the teams have one three-game series remaining at Yankee Stadium from Sept. 23-25.
New York left nine runners on against Lester and trailed 2-1 when he left.
A.J. Burnett kept the Yankees close and Mariano Rivera nailed down the win by striking out AL batting leader Adrian Gonzalez with the bases loaded.
Burnett, coming off an awful August, allowed two runs and five hits in 5 1-3 inning after adjusting his delivery.
``I just had a feeling tonight he was going to get it done,' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, ``and he did.'
Struggling to stay in the rotation after going 1-2 with an 11.91 ERA in five starts last month, Burnett changed the position of his hands at the start of his windup.
``I've only really been working on that for three days. I've been pitching the same way for 11 years so it's a big change, but as the game went on I felt more comfortable,' he said. ``It all goes down to focus and conviction and that was a lot better.'
The Yankees scored three runs in the seventh off Alfredo Aceves (9-2).
Nick Swisher started the inning by striking out. Aceves then walked Jones and hit Jesus Montero, a top prospect making his major league debut, with a pitch. Aceves was replaced by Daniel Bard, who gave up a double to right-center by Martin, the first batter he faced. Two runners scored and Martin went to third on the throw to the plate. Chavez followed with an RBI single.
The Red Sox threatened in the ninth, loading the bases on walks to Jed Lowrie and Jacoby Ellsbury and a single by Marco Scutaro. But Rivera caught Gonzalez looking at a third strike for his 36th save in 41 opportunities.
``We gave ourselves a chance,' Francona said.
Dustin Pedroia's two-run homer after a double by Gonzalez gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Aceves escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth, then struggled in the seventh and took his first loss in relief after winning 18 straight decisions out of the bullpen.
Cory Wade (3-0) got the win after pitching to just one batter, Lowrie, who ended the sixth by flying out.
Lester struggled in each of his five innings. The Yankees scored in the first when leadoff hitter Derek Jeter struck out, but Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira singled and Robinson Cano drove in the run with a double.
``I tried to minimize the damage,' Lester said. ``I was happy to get out of the first with one and from there on out it was a struggle.'
Teixeira left the game in the bottom of the seventh and is day-to-day after being hit by a pitch from Aceves on the side of the right knee in the sixth.
Burnett allowed one hit through three innings before giving up Pedroia's homer into the center-field bleachers, his career-high 18th of the year. He hit 17 in 2008, when he was the AL MVP.
Burnett threw 94 pitches, walking David Ortiz on the last one. Boone Logan then struck out Carl Crawford. Wade came in and ended the inning by retiring Lowrie.
``It feels good to keep my team in it,' Burnett said. ``Obviously, you want to go deeper, but to bounce back after a homer and to go as long as I could go and leave it all out there, it's all I can do.'
NOTES: Aceves is 23-3 in his career. He entered as the only pitcher in baseball history to win 23 of his first 25 decisions. ... The Red Sox added first baseman-outfielder Conor Jackson, obtained Wednesday night from Oakland, and recalled left-hander Felix Doubront from Triple-A Pawtucket. ... Bard's streak of eight scoreless outings ended. ... Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single in the second. ... Phil Mickelson, playing in the Deutsche Bank Championship starting Friday in Norton, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... The Red Sox send Andrew Miller (6-1) to the mound against Derek Holland (12-5) in the opener Friday night of a three-game series with Texas.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved