Sabathia sparkles in 5-2 win over Red Sox

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ace pitcher CC Sabathia returned to top form on Saturday in the New York Yankees' 5-2 win over the Boston Red Sox, allowing a miserly two runs and six hits in eight innings at Yankee Stadium.

Sabathia, who had struggled since the All-Star break, allowed just two hits and a walk after the second inning to improve to 14-5 for the season.

"I just want to go out and keep our team in the game and give everything I've got," Sabathia told reporters. "If I keep it close, these guys battle and play some great defense. They got good hits and I was able to keep them shut down."

The Yankees hit four consecutive singles with two outs in the fifth inning to take a 4-2 lead, then added another run in the sixth.

Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth inning for the Yankees for his 23rd save.

The Red Sox opened the scoring in the second inning on a solo home run by Victor Martinez. Back-to-back doubles by Adrian Beltre and Mike Lowell made it 2-0.

The Yankees responded in the bottom of the second as Lance Berkman led off with a walk and Curtis Granderson followed with an RBI triple. Granderson scored on a ground-out two batters later.

"In the second inning, I was definitely disappointed about that," said Red Sox starter John Lackey, who took the loss to fall to 10-7 on the season. "The guys gave me a lead and I gave the runs back, especially with the bottom half of their order."

Alex Rodriguez was injured when he was struck on the left shin by a ground ball off the bat of Lance Berkman in batting practice and was replaced at third base by Ramiro Pena, who hit 1-for-3 with two RBI's.

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by Ian Ransom)