BOSTON -- Jon Lester pitched eight brilliant innings and the Boston Red Sox continued their September surge with a 5-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Saturday.
Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes each had two hits for the first-place Red Sox, who jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on their way to their 10th win this month and 16th in their past 20 games.
Boston's lead in the American League East is nine games over the Tampa Bay Rays, who currently own the second wild-card slot and play later Saturday night.
The Yankees have lost six of their past 10 games, five coming against Boston, to fall 11 1/2 games back in the division and 2 1/2 behind the Rays in their push for the playoffs.
This time, they can blame Lester.
The left-hander continued his recent run of dominance, allowing just one run on three hits while retiring nine of the final 10 batters he faced. He didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning, and finished with five strikeouts and two walks to improve to 4-1 with a 1.81 ERA in his past six starts.
Franklin Morales pitched a perfect ninth.
Meanwhile, fellow southpaw CC Sabathia still can't solve the Red Sox.
Sabathia yielded five runs on nine hits over six innings, striking out five and walking four in falling to 10-11 with a 4.72 ERA in 27 career starts against Boston.
Early control problems plagued him Saturday.
Napoli opened the second inning with a single and advanced to second on a throwing error by third baseman Mark Reynolds. After a walk to Gomes -- the first of four free passes for Sabathia through the first five innings -- Napoli moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on a groundout by Will Middlebrooks.
The hottest team in baseball didn't stop there, though.
Dustin Pedroia singled to lead off the third and scored on a double by David Ortiz. Napoli then continued his sizzling September with a single to left and trotted home on a base hit by Gomes.
Lester retired the first nine batters he faced before Curtis Granderson led off the fourth with a triple to deep center. Robinson Cano drove him in with a groundout to cut the deficit to 3-1.
Boston's blistering offense answered in the fourth when David Ross singled and later scored on a base hit by Victorino. A sacrifice fly by Daniel Nava in the fifth made it 5-1.
NOTES: Yankees LF Alfonso Soriano was a late scratch due to a sprained right thumb. Soriano was replaced by Ichiro Suzuki, while Alex Rodriguez moved into the No. 4 spot in the batting order. ... The Red Sox will pay tribute to Yankees closer Mariano Rivera prior to Sunday night's game. It will mark the all-time saves leader's final regular season appearance at Fenway Park before retiring at the end of the year. ... Lester made the 218th start of his career, passing Bruce Hurst and Tom Brewer for seventh place on Boston's all-time list. ... Red Sox C Jarrod Saltalamacchia got the day off after hitting the game-winning grand slam against New York on Friday night. ... New York RHP Ivan Nova (8-4, 3.17 ERA) will oppose Boston RHP Clay Buchholz (10-0, 1.61) on Sunday in the finale of the three-game series.