Boston's Lester aims to solve Yankees

Like the Boston Red Sox, Jon Lester has struggled to a below .500 record this season.

This afternoon, the left-hander aims to win back-to-back starts for the first time since mid-May when a three-game series resumes against the New York Yankees.

Lester snapped his career-long, single-season winless streak at seven games with a 14-1 victory at Cleveland Sunday. He allowed one run on three hits and struck out a season-high 12 batters over six innings.

The last time Lester won consecutive starts was May 14 and 19 against the Seattle Mariners and Philadelphia Phillies, respectively.

Lester has fashioned an 8-4 record with a 3.98 ERA in 18 starts against the Yankees. That includes a 6-2 mark in 11 career starts in the Bronx. Lester is averaging 9.82 strikeouts per nine innings in his career against the Yankees, his highest rate versus any American League club.

Yankees right-hander David Phelps pitched effectively in his fourth major league start on Monday by yielding six hits and a pair of runs over five innings in an 8-2 win over the Texas Rangers. He stepped in for CC Sabathia, who was supposed to start Monday, but was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sore left elbow.

This will be Phelps' third appearance and first career start versus Boston.

Nick Swisher continued his hot streak last night by homering from both sides of the plate, and the Yankees received seven strong innings from Phil Hughes in a 6-4 victory.

Hughes (12-10) allowed four hits and four unearned runs to snap a two-start losing streak.

"I thought he really pitched tonight," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He threw more change-ups tonight than he's probably done in four or five starts combined. He threw them to right-handers, left-handers and that really kept them off balance."

Rafael Soriano retired the side in order in the ninth inning for his 30th save.

Swisher has four homers in his past five games and has at least one run and one RBI in his last six, extending a career-high. It's the longest such streak by a Yankee since Alex Rodriguez had a six-game stretch four years ago. The only Yankee with a longer such streak since 1957 was Don Mattingly (nine straight from July 7-18, 1987).

Curtis Granderson, Russell Martin and Derek Jeter also went deep for the AL East leaders, who won for the eighth time in 10 games. Jayson Nix knocked in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning.

Franklin Morales (3-4) was touched for six hits, including four homers, and five runs over 5 1/3 innings on a soggy night.

"I tried to throw my pitches. When you miss, that's going to happen," Morales said.

The Yankees have won seven of 10 from the Red Sox this season.