The New York Yankees will try to pad their lead atop the American League East standings on Tuesday when they begin a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
New York enters this series holding a one-game edge on the Baltimore Orioles in the division after splitting a four-game set with its rivals over the weekend. Following a controversial loss on Saturday, the Yankees responded in fine fashion in Sunday's finale, 13-3.
Curtis Granderson came off the bench and finished 3-for-3 with a homer and five RBI, while Derek Jeter also homered and knocked in three runs for the Yankees, who will have to get by without the services of Mark Teixeira for at least the next two weeks after aggravating a calf injury.
The New York bullpen threw 5 2/3 innings of one-hit ball in relief of Freddy Garcia, who was tagged for three runs on three hits in 3 1/3 innings. Joba Chamberlain (1-0) got five outs, fanning four with one walk, to pick up his first win of the season.
"It was an outstanding job by our bullpen," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "We were able to piece it together and added a lot of tack-on runs."
On Tuesday Hiroki Kuroda takes the hill trying to improve upon his 13-10 ledger and 3.14 ERA. Kuroda beat the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, limiting them to four runs and eight hits in six innings.
"Although I gave up some runs, I just wanted to minimize the damage, and somewhat, I was able to do that," Kuroda said through an interpreter after his outing.
Kuroda beat the Red Sox the last time he faced them and is 1-1 with a 3.45 ERA in four starts.
Boston, meanwhile, comes into Tuesday's tilt having lost four in a row after a three-game sweep at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays that culminated with a 4-3 setback on Sunday.
The Red Sox have now lost 11 of their last 12 games and are in last place in the AL East.
"Obviously it's going to be a different feel than what people are used to around here. We'll play spoiler," outfielder Cody Ross said. "That's all we can do now, is try to ruin people's seasons, because ours is pretty much (ruined)."
Hoping to reverse their fortunes will be lefty Jon Lester, who has won four of his last five starts. Lester beat the Seattle Mariners last Tuesday, holding them to three runs and nine hits in six innings. He is 9-11 with a 4.99 ERA on the year.
Lester is 9-4 lifetime versus the Yankees with a 4.23 ERA in 20 starts.
The Yankees are 8-4 this season against Boston, going 5-1 in Beantown.