BOSTON — Mariano Rivera struck out Adrian Gonzalez with the bases loaded for the final out and Russell Martin hit a go-ahead double in the seventh inning that sent the New York Yankees past the Boston Red Sox 4-2 Thursday night despite stranding 12 runners in the first six innings.
The lack of clutch hitting cost A.J. Burnett a potential victory as he began September with a solid performance after a horrible August in which he was 1-2 with an 11.91 ERA in five starts. In this one, he gave up two runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings.
The Red Sox led 2-1 on Dustin Pedroia’s two-run homer after Alfredo Aceves (9-2) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth. But he allowed three runs in the seventh and took his first loss in relief after winning 18 straight decisions out of the bullpen.
Rivera loaded the bases in the ninth but threw a called third strike past Gonzalez to earn his 36th save in 41 opportunities.
The Yankees moved within a half-game of the first-place Red Sox in the AL East by winning two of three in the series. New York is 4-11 against Boston this season, and the teams have one three-game series remaining at Yankee Stadium from Sept. 23-25.
Nick Swisher started the seventh by striking out. Aceves then walked Andruw Jones and hit Jesus Montero, a top prospect making his major league debut, with a pitch.
Aceves was replaced by Daniel Bard, who gave up a double to right-center by Martin, the first batter he faced. Two runners scored and Martin went to third on the throw to the plate. Pinch-hitter Eric Chavez followed with an RBI single.
Cory Wade (3-0) got the win after pitching to just one batter, Jed Lowrie, who ended the sixth by flying out.
Boston starter Jon Lester struggled in each of his five innings, throwing 114 pitches, but gave up only one run. That scored in the first when he needed 43 pitches. Leadoff hitter Derek Jeter struck out, but Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira singled and Robinson Cano drove in the run with a double.
Teixeira left the game in the bottom of the seventh and is day-to-day with a bruised right knee after he was hit by a pitch from Aceves in the sixth.
Burnett allowed just one hit through three innings. Gonzalez led off the fourth with a double and Pedroia homered into the center-field bleachers, his career-high 18th of the year. He hit 17 in 2008, when he was the AL MVP.
NOTES: Aceves is 23-3 in his career. He entered the game as the only pitcher in baseball history to win 23 of his first 25 decisions. … The Red Sox added first baseman-outfielder Conor Jackson, obtained Wednesday night from the Oakland Athletics, and recalled left-hander Felix Doubront from Triple-A Pawtucket. … Montero, a top prospect for the Yankees, stranded six runners as the des ignated hitter. … Bard’s streak of eight scoreless outings ended. … David Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single in the second. … Phil Mickelson, playing in the Deutsche Bank Championship starting Friday in Norton, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … The Yankees return home for the opener Friday night of a three-game series against the Blue Jays. Ivan Nova (1 4-4) pitches for New York against Brandon Morrow (9-9). … The Red Sox send Andrew Miller (6-1) to the mound against Derek Holland (12-5) in the opener Friday night of a three-game series with the Texas Rangers.
MLB NOTEBOOK: Injured Marlins star Hanley Ramirez has left shoulder instability and the shortstop is contemplating offseason surgery. Florida president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said Thursday there will be no decision on a course of action, or if Ramirez will play again this season, until the three-time All-Star sees Marlins Dr. Lee Kaplan this weekend. “The days are clicking away on the season and we just need to get him healthy now,” Beinfest said before the Marlins played the Mets. “So to speculate whether he will return or not may be a little premature, but I think we’ll have a pretty good idea this weekend. But, again, he’s interrupted his rehab once again and we’re going to have to get this thing fixed, one way or the other.” Ramirez has been out since Aug. 2 and had a setback this week while playing for Class-A Jupiter. He had an MRI on Wednesday. The .306 career hitter is having a down season, batting just .243 with 10 homers and 45 RBIs. Beinfest also said Josh Johnson, out with right shoulder inflammation since May 17, will throw in the next few days, but he doesn’t expect to see his ace back in the big leagues this season. “I doubt it. I don’t think in the major leagues,” Beinfest said. “He’s got 27 days to get all the way ramped up. We just want to get him on the mound, even if it’s simulated in Jupiter and just have him feel good and tell us that he feels good.”