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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 08/30/2011

Leading off: Sabathia, Yankees try to close gap on Red Sox

Game of the day: New York Yankees at Boston, 7:10 p.m. The Yankees have dropped 10 of 12 against the Red Sox this season, but they enter this series just a three-game sweep away from being alone on top of the American League East. New York, which will likely be without injured third baseman Alex Rodriguez (thumb), would certainly settle for a series win against a Boston squad that hasn’t lost more than two straight since June. In the opener, ace CC Sabathia (17-9) starts for the Yankees, trying to recapture his dominant midseason form. After a stretch in which he won eight of nine starts, Sabathia has won just once in his last four outings, surrendering at least three runs in each game. Boston starter John Lackey (12-9) has already beaten the Yankees twice at Fenway Park this season.

Other game to watch: St. Louis at Milwaukee, 8:10 p.m. Thanks to a recent surge, the Brewers have the largest cushion of any of the division leaders with 10.5 games separating them from the Cardinals. But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t like it to keep growing as the teams start a three-game set at Miller Park. Milwaukee right-hander Shaun Marcum, who makes his fourth start of the season against St. Louis, is coming off a loss last week against Pittsburgh — his first since June 29. Cardinals right-hander Edwin Jackson has won three of his six starts since coming over in a trade from the White Sox.

Games you should have seen

Philadelphia 3, Cincinnati 2: On a night when neither team mustered much offense, Shane Victorino’s two-run shot off Homer Bailey in the top of the eighth boosted the Phillies. Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels, making his first start off the disabled list, and Bailey battled all night as they combined for 16 strikeouts and just eight hits allowed in their 14 innings pitched. But Victorino’s blast broke a 1-1 tie and Ryan Madson closed out his team’s major league-best 84th win.

Houston 7, Pittsburgh 4: Carlos Lee’s three-run home run in the seventh gave the Astros their first lead of the game as they rallied past the struggling Pirates. Pittsburgh starter Ross Ohlendorf left with the lead, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the advantage. J.D. Martinez’s RBI groundout tied the game in the seventh before Lee came up against reliever Jose Veras and smacked his 13th homer of the season.

Star of the day: White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle pitched 7.2 scoreless innings in a 3-0 win against Minnesota. The veteran scattered four hits, walked a pair and struck out four en route to his 11th win of the season. It was his fourth quality start against the Twins this season. With a fourth straight win, Chicago climbed to within five games of Detroit in the American League Central.

Stat you should know: 13 The number of career multi-home run games for Rays outfielder Johnny Damon after he went deep twice in Monday’s 7-3 loss at Toronto. It was Damon’s first two-homer game since Sept. 9, 2008, when he was with the Yankees. The 37-year-old now has 228 career home runs.

Chatter: “Not having a ligament in the right arm helps. It’s something I’ve been able to do for a long time, worked on every spring training.”Mets right-hander R.A. Dickey, who is missing an elbow ligament in his pitching arm, on the unorthodox pickoff move to second base he used to nab Florida’s Mike Cameron for a key seventh-inning out in Monday’s 2-1 win. The knuckleballer pitched seven shutout innings in the first game of a doubleheader to notch his seventh straight quality start and first win since July 25.

By  |  07:00 AM ET, 08/30/2011

 
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