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RED SOX 5, YANKEES 1

Star of the Game: John Lackey went 8.0 innings, allowing just one run on seven hits while striking out 11 and walking nobody.

Pineda Ejected: Yankees starter Michael Pineda was ejected in the second inning for having pine tar on his neck. This comes after a substance resembling pine tar was found on his hand when the Red Sox played the Yanks earlier this month in New York. Home plate umpire Gerry Davis confirmed it was pine tar to a pool reporter.

Before the game, Sox manager John Farrell said he hoped Pineda would be discreet if he was to use any pine tar. Farrell was the one who brought it to Davis’ attention.

Sox Offense: Dustin Pedroia went 2 for 5 with an RBI and two runs. Mike Napoli went 3 for 4 with a double and RBI. Grady Sizemore tripled in the first inning. Brock Holt, Xander Bogaerts, A.J. Pierzynski and David Ortiz each had one hit.

Tomorrow’s Probables: Red Sox LHP Felix Doubront (1-2, 5.48) vs. Yankees LHP CC Sabathia (2-2, 5.19), 7:10 p.m., NESN+

BOSTON — As expected, Daniel Nava has been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket and right-hander Alex Wilson has been recalled.

Daniel Nava was optioned to Pawtucket after yesterday's game. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

There’s a very good chance Wilson will only with Boston today to help the depleted bullpen. Shane Victorino, meanwhile, likely will be activated tomorrow and Wilson will be optioned back.

“We’ll find out how tonight goes,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said about whether Wilson is here for just one game.

Nava, 31, is 10 for 67 (.149 batting average) with two home runs and three RBIs in 17 games for the Red Sox this season.

“Given the number of innings by our bullpen the past four or five days, we needed to add another arm, some help out there,” Farrell said. “And also felt like we had to get Daniel Nava going again. His struggles at the plate I think our evident. Just trying to get him back to being the player of confidence that we’ve seen in the past.

“Just feel like there needs to be more of a consistent two-strike approach,” Farrell added. “I felt like there were times when he tried to hit with a little bit too much power rather than that hitter of average who will hit occasional home runs. And then he needs to get some work on the right side of the plate as well.”

Wilson, 27, had one save and 8.0 scoreless innings eight relief appearances for Pawtucket. He has given up just four hits and five walks (one intentional) with nine strikeouts. He has allowed a hit in five of his eight outings.

BOSTON — New York RHP Michael Pineda (2-1, 1.00) will face Red Sox RHP John Lackey (2-2, 5.25) today at 7:10 p.m. here at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox are looking to even the series after the Yankees took Game 1 here last night.

Grady Sizemore is back leading off and Mike Carp is batting fifth and playing left field.

Red Sox Lineup

  1. Grady Sizemore RF
  2. Dustin Pedroia 2B
  3. David Ortiz DH
  4. Mike Napoli 1B
  5. Mike Carp LF
  6. A.J. Pierzynski C
  7. Xander Bogaerts SS
  8. Brock Holt 3B
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Yankees Lineup

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury CF
  2. Derek Jeter SS
  3. Carlos Beltran DH
  4. Brian McCann C
  5. Alfonso Soriano LF
  6. Mark Teixeira 1B
  7. Brett Gardner RF
  8. Brian Roberts 2B
  9. Kelly Johnson 3B

Daniel Nava has struggled this season. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Daniel Nava had a closed door meeting with manager John Farrell and General Manager Ben Cherington after today’s game.

Farrell and Cherington likely told the struggling Nava that he was being optioned to Triple-A Pawtcket. Nava was not in today’s lineup and is batting just .149 with a .240 on-base percentage in 75 plate appearances.

The Red Sox had hoped to activate Shane Victorino from the DL before tomorrow’s game against the New York Yankees.

But the Sox likely will hold off one day. The new plan likely is to promote a pitcher tomorrow to help the bullpen, which has been overused the past two days because of short outings from Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester.

Allen Webster who is scheduled to start for Pawtucket tomorrow very well could be the pitcher promoted.

Webster, or whoever it is, then would be optioned back to Pawtucket following tomorrow’s game and Victorino would be activated before Thursday’s game.

BOSTON — The Yankees splurged in the offseason, dishing out $155 million to Masahiro Tanaka, $153 million to Jacoby Ellsbury, $85 million to Brian McCann and $45 million to Carlos Beltran.

Jacoby Ellsbury had a memorable return to Boston yesterday, going 2 for 5 with two RBIs. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The Red Sox, meanwhile, took a frugal approach.

They signed Grady Sizemore, who hadn’t played in two years, for one year, $750,000 with the chance to earn $6 million if he stays healthy and plays. They chose to rely on young prospects Xander Bogaerts at shortstop and Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field. They made little effort to re-sign Ellsbury and shortstop Stephen Drew, after he turned down a $14.1 million qualifying offer.

The aggressiveness has paid off and has made New York the better team, at least in the short term.

As of right now, the Yanks look better equipped to win the AL East.

New York routed Boston 9-3 last night here at Fenway Park behind a strong start from Tanaka and Ellsbury’s triple, double and two RBIs. It was the type of gory pounding that might lead some Bostonians to take a baseball break until the Bruins’ postseason run finishes.

New York has taken four of five games from Boston this season.

Boston’s passive offseason approach was mainly because they had just won a World Series and the Sox felt good about their pitching talent at the major league level and their talented young pitching and positional prospects. That includes Henry Owens, Garin Cecchini, Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts down on the farm.

New York arguably had to splurge. The Yanks lack the same farm system talent and depth and missed the playoffs in 2013.

There are 141 games left. It’s not time to press the panic button just yet. But concerns exist.

Sizemore started out strong, but now he’s batting .213 with a .269 on-base percentage. Bogaerts and Bradley, meanwhile, have dealt with some rookie growing pains.

Bogaerts made a base running mistake that ended a rally Monday. He also made an off-target throw that pulled Mike Napoli off first base on a double play attempt. It led to the O’s seventh run and Baltimore won 7-6.

And Bogaerts’ errant throw in Chicago last week allowed the White Sox to walk off with a win.

Bradley’s strong jumps and routes to fly balls are evident but he made a poor throw to home plate Monday and also missed a cut-off man. He and Bogaerts also still are developing offensively.

“The talent is there, the work ethic is there,” Sox manager John Farrell said about Bogaerts and Bradley. “And yet we’ve got to ride the ebb and flow a little bit because of the inexperience.”

Farrell expects them to make mistakes.

“What we do with it and how we respond to it is most important,” he added. “That requires more individual conversation. And you’re taking guys that are gaining experience at the major league level, which is going to be different than any minor league setting that they’ve ever been involved in.”

Shane Victorino could be activated as early as today and Will Middlebrooks has a good chance of being activated this weekend in Toronto.

Those two reinforcements will help, but Red Sox fans have to be patient with this team for the time being.

Follow Christopher Smith on Twitter @SmittyOnMLB

Yankees 9, Red Sox 3

Ellsbury’s Return: Jacoby Ellsbury 2 for 5 with a double, triple and two RBIs in his first game at Fenway Park as a member of the New York Yankees.

Lester Struggles: Red Sox starter Jon Lester gave up a season-high 11 hits in 4.2 innings. It was the fourth time in his career he surrendered at least 11 hits. Three of the eight runs he allowed were earned. He struck out seven and walked four.

Ortiz’s Blast: David Ortiz’s homer in the fourth inning was his 435th of his career.  It traveled a distance of 482 feet.

Back to Back: Mike Napoli followed Ortiz with a 405 foot homer. It was the first time two Red Sox hitters have hit back-to-back homers this season. Napoli has reached base in a career-high 17 straight games. He’s hitting .292 during the stretch.

Double Trouble: Dustin Pedroia doubled for the four straight game. Pedroia is 8 for 19 over his past five games.

King Capuano: Chris Capuano extended his scoreless streak to 13.0 innings with 2.1 shutout innings.

Tanaka Strong: Yanks starter Masahiro Tanaka improved to 3-0 by allowing two runs on seven hits over 7.1 innings.

Tomorrow’s Matchup: New York RHP Michael Pineda (2-1, 1.00) will face John Lackey (2-2, 5.25) at 7:10 p.m.

BOSTON — Red Sox LHP Jon Lester (2-2, 2.17) goes against Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka (2-0, 2.05) today at 7:10 p.m.

Red Sox Lineup

  1. Grady Sizemore RF
  2. Dustin Pedroia 2B
  3. David Ortiz DH
  4. Mike Napoli 1B
  5. Jonny Gomes LF
  6. A.J. Pierzynski C
  7. Xander Bogaerts SS
  8. Brock Holt 3B
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Yankees Lineup

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury CF
  2. Derek Jeter SS
  3. Carlos Beltran DH
  4. Alfonso Soriano LF
  5. Mark Teixeira 1B
  6. Brian McCann C
  7. Yangervis Solarte 3B
  8. Ichiro Suzuki RF
  9. Brian Roberts 2B

Orioles 7, Red Sox 6

Rally Halted: The Red Sox rallied back from a 6-0 deficit and put the tying run on second base with one out in the ninth but could not complete the comeback. Mike Carp grounded out to first base to end the game.

Bogaerts Blunders: Xander Bogaerts’ crucial base running error in the bottom of the eighth inning ended a Red Sox rally. On a hit-and-run he got caught between second and third and was tagged out for the final out right after Jonathan Herrara struck out.

That blunder came after a Bogaerts throw to first base on a double play attempt in the top of the eighth pulled Mike Napoli off the bag. Orioles batter Steve Clevenger reached first and eventually scored.

Buchholz Routed: Sox starter Clay Buchholz lasted just 2.1 innings, allowing six runs, all earned, on seven hits and one walk while striking out one. The O’s started the third inning with five straight singles against Buchholz.

Badenhop Better: Sox reliever Burke Badenhop pitched 3.2 scoreless innings, allowing a hit and two walks while striking out one. His ERA dropped from 6.75 to 4.85.

Red Sox Offense: Boston’s offense again scuffled early. John Farrell said his team must start to score earlier in games. Mike Napoli and David Ross each homered.

Sox/Yanks Today: LHP Jon Lester (2-2, 2.17) vs. RHP Masahiro Tanaka (2-0, 2.05), 7:10 p.m., NESN.

BOSTON — Jacoby Ellsbury will return to Fenway Park today for the first time since signing a seven-year, $153-million contract with the New York Yankees, but the Ellsbury storyline could easily become overshadowed by the starting pitching matchup.

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester has a 2.17 ERA so far this year. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Red Sox ace Jon Lester starts against Japanese phenom Masahiro Tanaka, who has gone 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA, 28 strikeouts and just two walks in his first three major league starts.

It will be Tanaka’s first ever outing against Boston — and the game has all the makings of a classic Sox/Yanks showdown.

While Ellsbury and Tanaka (seven years, $155 million) are living high after raking in the dough this past offseason, Lester, who is scheduled to hit the free agent market this coming offseason, is in the midst of making an airtight case for his own gigantic pay day.

Instead of publicly venting his frustration over the Red Sox’ recent low ball offer (a reported four years, $70 million), the Red Sox southpaw has chosen to keep his mouth shut and let his pitching talk for him. He has a 2.17 ERA in four starts. He most recently out-dueled White Sox ace Chris Sale last week, allowing just one run while striking out nine and walking nobody over 8.0 innings.

David Ross, who caught that gem in Chicago, said he sees the same intense, focused and dominant Lester so far this regular season that he saw last postseason when the lefty went 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA in five starts and led the Red Sox to a World Series title.

Last year’s postseason heroics came on the heels of a dominant second half (7-2, 2.57 ERA, 13 starts).

“In this game, confidence is a big thing,” Ross said. “And when you get your confidence, you don’t press as much. You’re able to relax and just be who you are. I think the second half last year along with the playoffs, just gave him (that confidence) after having a bad year two years ago.

“Sometimes we lose either what kind of hitter we are, or player or pitcher … and you kind of search a little bit. And I think he’s done searching and has found out who he is. He’s an extremely talented pitcher with a lot of confidence right now. It just makes it fun to be a catcher.”

Lester has a strong resume to bring to the negotiating table. He has pitched over 200 innings in five of the past six regular seasons, has a 2.11 ERA in 13 playoff appearances, including 11 starts, and is a two-time World Series champion.

The only argument that can be made against him being paid among the game’s top starting pitchers is that he has never put together the same dominant regular season as elite aces such as Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw and David Price.

Lester certainly has been good during the regular season (3.73 career ERA) but only once in his nine-year career has he received any Cy Young votes. He came in fourth in 2010.

His case for getting paid in the Scherzer-range is becoming stronger. Scherzer, who won the 2013 AL Cy Young but hasn’t matched Lester’s postseason success, also is scheduled to be become a free agent this upcoming offseason. He turned down a reported six-year, $144 million extension from the Detroit Tigers.

Philadelphia lefty Cole Hamels — who’s comparable to Lester in terms of regular season production and durability as well as postseason success — signed for six years, $144 million at age 28 back in July 2012. That should be the type of money Lester is targeting.

One noticeable difference with Lester since the end of last season is that the lefty hasn’t been arguing over ball and strike calls as much. He hasn’t been letting umpire’s poor calls rattle him.

“Sometimes it’s a frustrating thing when you feel like you executed what you wanted to do and the umpire doesn’t give it to you,” Ross said. “But I feel like that’s a maturity thing. It comes with maturity and trying to control the things that you can control. I think he’s doing a better job of that since I’ve been here of just focusing on doing his job rather worrying about external things that you can’t control.”

“It bothers him but he doesn’t let it affect him long term, maybe a pitch or two.”

That’s when Ross will go to the mound and tell Lester to turn the page.

“It’s part babysitting for me,” Ross said, laughing.

Meanwhile, even Red Sox manager John Farrell is excited to see Tanaka pitch.

“Looking forward to seeing him pitch,” Farrell said. “I’ve only seen highlights or video prior to him signing with New York. We know he has a well above average split-fingered fastball. Competitive. Strong.”

Follow Christopher Smith on Twitter @SmittyOnMLB

The Red Sox will honor the University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball teams for their NCAA championship wins tomorrow at Fenway Park.

The Huskies will throw out the ceremonial first pitches before tomorrow’s 7:10 p.m. start. The Red Sox and Yankees will be playing the first game of a three-game series.

Senior guard Shabazz Napier will throw for the men’s team, and junior forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis will throw for the women’s team. Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy also will be in attendance and participate in the ceremony.

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