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Kuroda strong, Yanks get back on track by downing Sox

Hiroki Kuroda took a shutout into the seventh inning and the New York Yankees scored three times in the top of the frame en route to a 5-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Kuroda (9-6) was reached for a pair of runs before exiting upon finishing out the seventh, and held the Red Sox to five hits to help the Yankees put an end to three straight losses that included a 4-2 setback in Friday's opener of this three-game set.

"He had everything today," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "His stuff was really crisp. He kept his pitch count down in the early innings. His stuff was really sharp."

Kuroda received plenty of help from a New York lineup that pounded out 12 hits, with Brett Gardner and Lyle Overbay collecting three each along with an RBI apiece. Robinson Cano knocked in two runs, while Eduardo Nunez finished 3-for-4 and scored once in the triumph.

Mike Carp went 3-for-4 with a run scored and David Ortiz had two hits for AL East-leading Boston, which had a five-game home win streak halted.

John Lackey (7-7) took the loss after being charged with four runs allowed on 10 hits while lasting 6 1/3 innings.

A matchup between two of the AL's top four earned run average leaders lived up to its billing early on, with both Kuroda and Lackey keeping the opposition off the board over the game's initial four innings.

Boston did had a chance to score when Ortiz singled with two out and a man on in the bottom of the first, but Daniel Nava was easily gunned down at the plate on Vernon Wells' on-target throw from short left field.

The Yankees put forth their best threat to that point in the fifth, as Nunez led off with a single and stole second before being pushed up a base on a Chris Stewart bunt. Luis Cruz followed with a grounder to a drawn-in infield in which Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew fired home to nab Nunez for the second out.

New York did break through later in the inning, though, with Cruz taking second on Lackey's wild pitch in front of Gardner's liner up the middle that ended the scoreless deadlock.

Kuroda set down nine straight after Ortiz's early hit, but surrendered back- to-back singles to Carp and Jonny Gomes to begin Boston's half of the fifth. He regrouped to get the next two hitters, then worked out of the jam when Carp made an unsuccessful attempt to score from third on a pitch that momentarily got away from Stewart behind the plate.

"[Poor baserunning] worked against us a couple times today," Red Sox manager John Farrell remarked. "Down two with David [Ortiz] on deck, overaggressiveness on [Carp's] part."

The Red Sox again came away empty in the sixth, an inning before New York struck for three runs to give Kuroda some breathing room.

Nunez doubled off the Green Monster to start the seventh and came around on Cruz's single to center for a 2-0 lead. After a Gardner base hit ended Lackey's afternoon, Cano and Overbay each drove in runs with consecutive two- out singles off Matt Thornton.

Kuroda's string of 18 consecutive scoreless innings was snapped in the bottom of the seventh after Ortiz singled, moved to third on Carp's double to center and was plated on a Gomes sacrifice fly. Carp later trotted home on a wild pitch to pull Boston within 4-2.

The Red Sox failed to get any closer, however. Cruz was hit by a pitch to open the ninth and eventually scored on a Cano sac fly, and Mariano Rivera yielded just a Carp single while fanning the final two in Boston's final at-bat to nail down save No. 31 on the season.

Game Notes

Cano's RBI single extended his season-best hitting streak to 11 games ... Drew was activated from the disabled list prior to the game and went 0-for-2 with a walk in his first action since June 28 ... The Yankees placed outfielder Zolio Almonte, who sprained his left ankle in Friday's tilt, on the 15-day DL while designating infielder Alberto Gonzalez for assignment ... Boston's Shane Victorino sat out the contest after injuring his hamstring in the series opener ... Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia ended 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and has now fanned 100 times in 263 at-bats this season ... Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia committed just his second error in his last 124 games after booting Gardner's grounder in the ninth.