New York Yankees defeat Boston Red Sox, 5-2

NEW YORK — The planets were aligned.

The Rays had already lost their fourth straight game and the Red Sox were riding high after a nifty Friday night victory. Alex Rodriguez was bounced from the lineup by one of his own guys during batting practice. The Sox were poised to beat the Yankees again yesterday and pull within four games of first place. They haven’t been closer than 4 1/2 since July 6.

For a few moments, thoughts of a Bronx sweep were dancing in the bobbled he...

NEW YORK — The only thing that Lance Berkman has been able to hit with authority is Alex Rodriguez. He absolutely smoked him with a line drive that hit the Yankees third baseman inside the left leg during batting practice, which forced A-Rod out of yesterday’s lineup.

It was a great opportunity for the Red Sox, but one that went by the boards with a 5-2 loss. CC Sabathia mesmerized the Red Sox. After allowing two second-inning runs, he recorded six scoreless innings for...

NEW YORK — These were the moments in which John Lackey was supposed to thrive, the big games and big situations. It was one of the reasons the Red Sox shelled out all that money and all those years for him.

Not that it was going to be easy, with the Yankees throwing CC Sabathia, making it the one starting pitching matchup this weekend that did not favor the Sox.

And the game followed form yesterday, with Sabathia outlasting Lackey, as the Sox dropped the second game ...

NEW YORK — David Ortiz has again established himself as the most productive designated hitter in baseball, getting on base at a higher rate and hitting for more power than any other player in that role.

Once Ortiz emerged from his early slump in May, Red Sox manager Terry Francona decided to insert the 34-year-old slugger in the middle of his lineup every day. Outside of a few interleague road games, Ortiz has been a constant.

“We need to let him play,’’ Francona sai...