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Yankees try to even series with Red Sox

The New York Yankees try to hang onto at least a share of the American League East lead on Wednesday when they continue a three-game set with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

New York fell back into a tie atop the division standings on Tuesday, as Jacoby Ellsbury plated Pedro Ciriaco with the winning run in the ninth, propelling Boston to a 4-3 win.

"It's a great feeling," said Ellsbury, who finished with four hits. "We just want to keep putting on that show for the rest of the season with the games we have left."

Dustin Pedroia finished with three hits, including a solo home run, and two runs batted in, while Ciriaco posted two hits and scored twice for Boston, which had dropped four straight coming into the contest.

Since July 28, the Reds Sox are 4-2 against the Yankees and 11-25 against everyone else.

"We owe them," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said of New York. "We haven't beaten them enough this year. I'd like to play some good games."

Jon Lester labored through 5 1/3 frames, throwing just 55 of his 102 pitches for strikes, walking seven and giving up three runs and five hits. Andrew Bailey (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth for the victory.

Nick Swisher finished with two hits and Derek Jeter drove in two runs for the Yankees, who are tied atop the AL East with Baltimore, which downed Tampa Bay, 9-2, on Tuesday.

New York, of course, held a 10-game lead at one point and hasn't been in second place since June 10.

"We have to try to string together some wins," Jeter said. "If you keep winning and losing, winning and losing and the other team's doing the same, they're going to gain ground on you."

On Wednesday the Yanks turn to right-handed rookie David Phelps, who has not been able to get out of the fifth inning his last two times out. Phelps did not get a decision on Thursday in Baltimore, but was awful, surrendering five runs and six hits in four innings of his team's 10-6 loss. He is 3-4 with a 3.55 ERA this season.

Phelps lost to the Red Sox in his only other start against them.

Boston, meanwhile, will counter with a struggling right-hander of its own in Aaron Cook, who is 3-9 with a 5.17 ERA. Cook lost his fourth consecutive decision last Wednesday in Seattle, despite a solid effort that saw him yield two runs and seven hits in six innings.

Cook has lost both of his starts to the Yankees and has pitched to a 10.24 ERA in doing so.

The Yankees are 8-5 this season against Boston, going 5-2 in Beantown.