NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees watches his three RBI home run in the second inning against the Boston Red Sox on September 24, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Yankees Knock Out Lester Early, Beat Red Sox 9-1

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Red Sox Blown Out By Yankees, Wild Card Lead Shrinks

After losing to the Yankees, Saturday evening -- well, getting destroyed by the Yankees, but fortunately 9-1 losses count the same as all the others in the standings -- the Boston Red Sox are now 5-17 in September.

As one wag observed, the 1962 New York Mets went 6-18 in September.

Jon Lester, Boston's nominal co-ace, started for the Red Sox and got knocked out in the third inning, charged with eight runs. The big blow was Derek Jeter's three-run homer, but there were plenty of other blows.

The bullpen came up big, giving up just one run the rest of the way. But that meant nothing, because Boston's hitters could manage just a single run against Freddy Garcia and a quintet of Yankee reliefers.

This contest meant little or nothing to the Yankees, who have already clinched yet another American League East title.

It meant something to the Red Sox. Still hoping to avoid what would rank as one of the more dramatic collapses in major-league history, Boston's loss left them with a two-game lead in the Wild Card standings, pending later action featuring the Rays and Angels, who entered the day trailing by 2½ and 3½ games, respectively.

This series concludes Sunday with a day-night doubleheader, at the end of which the Red Sox might find themselves in a Wild Card tie, or they might find themselves four games ahead of their nearest competition. What's likely is something between those extremes, and at this point something in the middle would look pretty good, considering how poorly the Sox have played this month.

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