The New York Yankees are on the verge of losing another series as their playoff hopes continue to dim.
It won't be easy for them against Boston Red Sox rookie starter Anthony Ranaudo, who has won all three starts including his big league debut against New York.
The fading Yankees are running out of time as they look to avoid a fourth straight defeat and even this three-game home set Wednesday night.
New York (70-66) dropped series in Detroit and Toronto entering this nine-game homestand against its biggest rival.
The last-place Red Sox (61-77) aren't so formidable anymore but they have taken four of six from the Yankees after winning 9-4 on Tuesday. New York fell five games behind the Tigers for the AL's second wild card.
"These series are extremely important, it's not how you want to start a homestand," manager Joe Girardi said.
Ranaudo (3-0, 4.50 ERA) will try to add to their woes in his fourth start. He has gone six innings in each of the first three, yielding three runs to earn Friday's 8-4 victory at Tampa Bay.
The right-hander grew up in New Jersey rooting for the Yankees, who he beat by allowing two runs in a 4-3 win Aug. 1. He struck out two - including Derek Jeter for the first of his career - and is eager to pitch in the Bronx for the first time.
''I can't even describe how excited I'm going to be,'' Ranaudo said. ''There's going to be a lot of emotions.''
The emotions were of a different variety Tuesday for New York after it fell behind 6-0 in the third inning. The Yankees had a four-game win streak snapped at home, where they average 3.6 runs for the AL's second-worst mark.
"Did I think at this point at the season we'd score more runs? Absolutely," Girardi said. "In this ballpark? Absolutely. But it hasn't happened for various reasons and we need that to change."
Making matters worse is that New York's Martin Prado left in the ninth inning with a tight left hamstring. Prado is hitting .383 in his last 15 games.
"That's not someone that we want to lose, he's played extremely well," Girardi said. "We'll just have to see how he is."
The Yankees will give the ball to Hiroki Kuroda (9-8, 3.88), who is 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA in his last three outings. He gave up two runs over seven innings in last Thursday's 3-2 loss at Detroit.
The right-hander won his lone 2014 start against Boston by allowing four runs in 6 1-3 innings in a 7-4 victory April 12. David Ortiz is 11 for 20 against him.
Kuroda won't have to worry about Dustin Pedroia, a .314 hitter versus him. Pedroia is not expected to return from a concussion suffered Saturday until Friday at the earliest.
Xander Bogaerts homered among his four hits Tuesday and fellow rookie Mookie Betts also went deep for Boston, which has won eight of its last 11 road games.
''This season definitely has not been the way that we all wanted, we all expected it to be. But there's a lot of talent coming up and hopefully we can blend in together and have a good future,'' Bogaerts said.