NY media sports page covers for June 8, 2011

Normally when the Boston Red Sox give Jon Lester an early lead, we don’t have to worry too much especially given his career numbers against the New York Yankees. We’re also used to seeing Lester shine when the weather heats up after battling early season struggles.

But it’s been the opposite this year for the most part.

After bucking the April struggles this year, Lester had a tough go of things in the month of May. And with two extra days of rest to work out the mechanical issues, Lester seems to be no where near figuring them out.

He struggled with his command last night, especially with his cutter as evidenced by hitting Mark Teixeira, a HBP that forced him from the game, and hitting Russell Martin with the exact same pitch in almost the same spot. The 3-0 lead he was afforded quickly turned to 3-1 and if not for getting Nick Swisher to ground out on a great stop by Kevin Youkilis, the end result of the first inning could have been much different.

After the Red Sox got him two more runs in the 5th on a David Ortiz two-run blast, Lester gave them right back in the bottom half on a two-run double from Swisher. Fortunately for Lester, the bullpen backed him up as the Sox would hold on for a 6-4 win.

Unfortunately though, it wasn’t Bobby Jenks who helped out. In fact, he could find himself returning to the disabled list after leaving with back tightness with a 3-1 count on Jorge Posada in the first batter of the seventh. Matt Albers came in and got the job done though for him. Daniel Bard was lights out in the 8th and Jonathan Papelbon finished it off in the 9th despite allowing a run.

For Papelbon it was a strange day.

He was suspended and fined for three games for the bumping incident with Tony Randazzo on Saturday. But since he appealed the suspension and the fine, he was able to pitch and for that, he rewarded himself with his 200th career save.

His strikeout of Alex Rodriguez to end the game gave him that 200th career save and put him into the MLB record books as the fastest to 200 career saves.

Speaking of bullpens, the Yankees can thank Hector Noesi for giving them a strong relief outing after Freddy Garcia stunk up the joint.

Jacoby Ellsbury got the chasing of Garcia going right away when he lead off the game with a home run. A walk to Dustin Pedroia and another rare triple by Adrian Gonzalez made it 2-0. Youk promptly followed that with a sac fly to push it to 3-0.

Garcia finally would leave the game after 1 2/3 innings when Pedroia chased him to the clubhouse with a double that scored Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

You have to give credit to Lester for battling through his command issues last night. Had he not been able to gut it out, the Red Sox bullpen could have been shorthanded even more than they are with Jenks going down. All told though, a good night overall.

The Red Sox now find themselves back in a tie for first place in the AL East with the Yanks. They’ve also taken six-of-seven from their rivals this season. Hopefully that trend continues again later today.

We’ll be back later with tonight’s lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. But for now, enjoy the overnight links by clicking on the read more button below if you’re on the home page.

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Papelbon has one to savor [Boston Globe]

Flip flap adds some spice [Boston Globe]

Injury doesn’t worry Jenks [Boston Globe]

Command still issue for Lester [Boston Globe]

Possible catch with Swihart [Boston Globe]

Red Sox OK from start [Boston Herald]

Sox will need Swihart deal to sign pick [Boston Herald]

Question of age [Boston Herald]

Jonathan Papelbon suspended 3 games [Boston Herald]

Papi’s HR act riles Yankees [Boston Herald]

Jonathan Papelbon bags 200th save quicker than Mariano Rivera [Boston Herald]

Lester good enough to beat Yanks [CSNNE.com]

Will cost Sox to steer Swihart from Austin to Boston [CSNNE.com]

Notes: Pap saves 200th; Girardi criticizes Papi [CSNNE.com]

Rapid reaction: Red Sox 6, Yankees 4 [ESPN Boston]

Ortiz dismisses Girardi ire about bat flip [ESPN Boston]

Old back issue bites Jenks; MRI scheduled [ESPN Boston]

Video: Edes and Marchand on Game 1 and previewing Game 2 [ESPN Boston]

Jonathan Papelbon makes most of stay of suspension [ESPN Boston]

Video: Nick Cafardo on Red Sox-Yankees opener [Extra Bases]

John Lackey: Elbow going to be ‘something I have to stay on top of’ [Full Count]

Closing Time: Red Sox jump on ineffective Freddy Garcia early and often [Full Count]

Rounds 11-15: Nursing can wait as Sox make run at college arms [Full Count]

Red Sox go for pitching in rounds 16-20 [Full Count]

Rounds 21-30: Red Sox make a second run at drafting Tino Martinez (sort of) [Full Count]

Red Sox Take Williams Jerez, Brooklyn Product With Yankees Ties, in Second Round of Draft [NESN.com]

Jonathan Papelbon Pays Tribute to Mariano Rivera After Breaking One of Legend’s Records [NESN.com]

Video: Jon Lester Able to Execute When Needed, Comes Away With Eighth Win of Season [NESN.com]

Vote to Help Fill Out Tournament Field for ‘Red Sox Showdown for the Ages’ [NESN.com]

Bobby Jenks to Get MRI on Back on Wednesday, Expects to Be OK [NESN.com]

‘Red Sox Showdown for the Ages’ Set to Crown Greatest Red Sox Team of All Time [NESN.com]

Boston pulls into first-place tie with NY [Providence Journal]

Wakefield’s a familiar act to long line of New Yorkers [Providence Journal]

Papelbon suspended for bumping umpire [Providence Journal]

Red Sox Journal: Scutaro is thrown right into the fray [Providence Journal]

So far, rivalry tilting in Boston’s direction [RedSox.com]

Cal State Fullerton’s Ramirez excited to join Sox [RedSox.com]

David Ortiz’ quest to make the designated hitter cool again [Rob Bradford – WEEI.com]

Good To See That the Dad from “Modern Family” Hates the Yankees, Too [Surviving Grady]

For more slices of Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, CSNNEESPN Boston, NESN, Providence Journal, RedSox.com and WEEI websites.

And if you must check out the enemy news, head over to the New York Daily News, New York Post, New York Times and The Journal News websites. You can also check out our Bloguin brother, NYY Stadium Insider.