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Saturday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Jon Lester vs. Masahiro Tanaka

06.28.14 at 10:39 am ET
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The slumping Red Sox continue their three-game series in New York against the Yankees on Saturday when they send Jon Lester to the mound against Masahiro Tanaka.

With his team in danger of being swept in four games in Oakland, Lester (8-7, 3.14 ERA) did all he could to snap the Red Sox‘ skid last Sunday. The left-hander went 7 2/3 innings, giving up three runs — two earned — on four hits and two walks in a 7-6 Red Sox win. He struck out four batters and took his first no-decision of the season.

Lester certainly has looked like an ace as of late. He’s 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA in his last three outings and has had quality starts in five of his last six games. Lester has gone at least seven innings in three of his last five starts.

Lester will face the Yankees for the 29th time in his career on Saturday, the second most he’s games pitched against any team (he has 30 career starts against the Blue Jays). He’s 12-6 with a 3.96 ERA in those 28 starts, two of which came this season.

Lester beat the Yankees in the teams’ first meeting this season on April 11, giving up two runs, six hits and two walks with six strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings in a 4-2 win at Yankee Stadium. The lefty lasted just 4 2/3 innings in his most recent start against New York on April 22, giving up eight runs — just three earned — on 11 hits and four walks in a 9-3 Yankees win.

It’s not often when three earned runs over seven innings is considered a bad day for a starting pitcher. But when it’s someone who has been as dominant as Tanaka this season, it’s about as close to a poor outing as one will find. Tanaka (11-2, 2.11 ERA) suffered just his second loss in what has been a stellar rookie season on Sunday. The 25-year-old gave up six hits and a walk to go with the three runs for his 15th straight quality start, but had no run support in an 8-0 Yankees loss to the Orioles

“Look, he’s not perfect,” Derek Jeter said after the game. “He gave us a great opportunity to win.”

Said catcher Brian McCann: “I thought he pitched well. Just in the seventh inning, he got a couple of pitches up in the zone, out over the plate. When you score some runs, it’s easier to go out there and pitch. We didn’t hit for him today.”

Tanaka significantly outpitched Lester at Fenway Park in his lone meeting against the Red Sox April 22. The two runs he gave up came on solo home runs by David Ortiz and Mike Napoli. He allowed seven hits, no walks and struck out seven.

Red Sox vs. Tanaka (RHP)

Xander Bogaerts (3 plate appearances): .000 AVG/.000 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 strikeout

Jackie Bradley (3): .333/.333/.333

Jonny Gomes (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Brock Holt (3): .333/.333/.333

Mike Napoli (3): .667/.667/2.000, 1 HR, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

David Ortiz (3): .333/.333/1.333, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Dustin Pedroia (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double

A.J. Pierzynski (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 2 strikeouts

Yankees vs. Lester (LHP)

Derek Jeter (75 plate appearances): .338 AVG/.400 OBP/.397 SLG, 1 HR, 1 double, 9 RBIs, 6 walks, 11 strikeouts

Brian Roberts (57): .235/.316/.471, 2 HR, 6 doubles, 2 RBIs, 6 walks, 10 strikeouts

Ichiro Suzuki (55): .340/.364/.453, 2 HR, 4 RBIs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Mark Teixeira (53): .243/.321/.340, 1 HR, 2 doubles, 5 RBIs, 5 walks, 18 strikeouts

Alfonso Soriano (19): .316/.316/.526, 1 HR, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 7 strikeouts

Kelly Johnson (17): .067/.176/.067, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

Brett Gardner (12): .182/.250/.182, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Brendan Ryan (12): .333/.333/.500, 2 doubles, 2 strikeouts

Francisco Cervelli (10): .222/.300/.222, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Carlos Beltran (9): .286/.444/.286, 1 RBI, 2 walk, 2 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (7): .500/.571/1.000, 1 triple, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 walk

Brian McCann (7): .667/.714/.833, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Yangervis Solarte (6): .000/.000/.000, 4 strikeouts

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