Red Sox-Yankees Preview

The Associated Press

The New York Yankees are living up to their "Bronx Bombers" nickname against Boston this season.

Bobby Valentine's Red Sox have simply bombed in 2012.

Without ailing Mark Teixeira in the lineup, the Yankees will look to continue teeing off against Red Sox pitching when the rivals headed in different directions continue their three-game series Saturday.

New York (71-48) opened this set with a 6-4 victory Friday night at Yankee Stadium on the strength of five solo home runs - two by Nick Swisher and one apiece for Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin. Jeter's homer was the 250th of his career.

"If you do it long enough, good things happen," said Jeter, who joined Willie Mays as the only players with 3,000 hits, 250 homers, 300 steals and 1,200 RBIs. "I consider it a good number. Other people might not. But for me it's a lot of homers."

The power surge was nothing new for the Yankees against the Red Sox this season. New York has homered 28 times in 10 meetings - seven wins - including a pair of contests with five homers. Swisher has hit five of the long balls.

Given the ease with which the Yankees are hitting Boston pitching, they are likely not tempted to rush Teixeira back into action. The slugging first baseman is out of the starting lineup for a second straight day due to a nagging wrist injury he originally suffered against the Red Sox on July 29.

"The wrist is a little sore," Teixeira said. "The same thing I had two weeks ago, but we played 14 days straight, so it's gotten sore the last few days. We just want to give it a day or two to calm down a little bit. I'm taking 50 swings in the cage. I'm taking 20 on the field every day and the game swings, that just adds up after a couple weeks."

The losses keep adding up for the Red Sox (58-62) in Valentine's first season, though the manager said Friday he doesn't agree with club president Larry Lucchino's comments that negative media coverage is partly to blame for the team's struggles.

"It's been a real challenging year. A lot of things going on," Valentine said. "I don't know if it's more than I expected, but it's been challenging - just the way we like it."

Valentine had to like what he saw from scheduled Saturday starter Jon Lester (6-10, 5.20 ERA) in his last outing. The left-hander struck out a season-high 12 in six innings of Sunday's 14-1 rout of Cleveland, allowing one run and three hits to earn his first win in six weeks. He had been 0-5 with a 7.49 ERA over his previous seven starts.

Lester faced the Yankees twice during his winless drought, getting charged with nine runs and 13 hits over 10 1-3 innings and suffering one loss. He surrendered two homers - to Jayson Nix and Chris Stewart - in a July 28 outing in the Bronx.

Nix is 6 for 16 (.375) with three homers in his career off Lester, while Jeter is 19 for 55 (.345) with one home run.

David Phelps (3-3, 2.53) will take a second straight turn in the rotation for New York in place of CC Sabathia, who is on the 15-day disabled list due to left elbow soreness but could return next weekend. Phelps threw a career-high five innings Monday, allowing two runs and scattering six hits to earn an 8-2 victory over Texas.

The rookie right-hander has yielded three runs in six innings of relief versus Boston this season.

The Yankees have won eight of 10 overall, while the Red Sox have dropped seven of 10.

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