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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 08/05/2011

Leading off: Yankees and Red Sox set to do battle at Fenway Park

Game of the day: New York Yankees at Boston, 7:10 p.m. Major League Baseball’s most-hyped rivalry continues this weekend with a three-game series on deck at Fenway Park. The Yankees and Red Sox are tied atop the American League East, with New York riding a seven-game winning streak while Boston is just 4-4 in its last eight games. The rivals entered Thursday’s action either first or second in runs scored, home runs and on base percentage, meaning both clubs’ beleaguered pitching staffs will have to be up for a challenge. Bartolo Colon (8-6) is scheduled to start Friday for the Yankees, looking for his third straight win but his first against Boston since Aug. 18, 2005. Red Sox starter Jon Lester (11-4) is 5-0 with a 2.51 ERA in his last five starts against New York.

Other game to watch: Cleveland at Texas, 8:05 p.m. Ubaldo Jimenez is scheduled to make his first start for Cleveland since the Indians acquired him in a trade with Colorado on Sunday. The Indians sit three games behind Detroit in the American League Central, and they will need a boost from Jimenez to help them stay in the race. Including a one-inning start on Saturday when the trade was finalized right around the beginning of the game, Jimenez went 3-1 with a 4.72 ERA in his last five starts before the swap. Left-hander Derek Holland (10-4) will pitch for the first-place Rangers, going for his fifth outing without allowing an earned run in his last six starts. Holland tossed a four-hit shutout his last time out Saturday against Toronto.

Games you should have seen:

Tampa Bay 7, Toronto 6 (12 innings) . The Rays fell behind in both the 10th and 11th innings, but fought back to tie the game twice before Robinson Chirinos’s RBI single won it in the 12th. After Colby Rasmus hit an RBI double to put Toronto ahead 4-3 in the top of the 10th, Desmond Jennings hit a home run in the bottom of the inning to force the 11th. Jose Molina made it 6-4 Toronto with a two-run triple in the top of the 11th, but RBI from Matt Joyce and Chirinos forced the 12th. Jose Bautista hit his league-leading 33rd home run of the year for Toronto, and rookie reliever Brandon Gomes earned his first career win for Tampa Bay.

Chicago Cubs 7, Pittsburgh 6 . The Cubs rallied for three runs in the top of the eighth, completing a four-game sweep of the Pirates who have completely tanked over the past week. Pittsburgh overcame an early 4-0 deficit with a six-run fourth inning highlighted by RBI doubles from pitcher James McDonald and center fielder Andrew McCutchen. After Aramis Ramirez singled to cut the Pirates’ lead to 6-5 in the eighth, Carlos Pena tied the game with a bases-loaded walk and Marlon Byrd broke the tie with a sacrifice fly. The Pirates (54-56) have now lost seven straight games to fall two games under .500 and seven games behind Milwaukee in the National League Central.

Stat you should know: 12. Orioles left-hander Zach Britton allowed a season-high 12 hits Thursday night in another disastrous start for the rookie. After Baltimore’s 9-4 loss to Kansas City, Britton is now 0-5 with a 10.57 ERA in his last six starts — a far cry from when he went 5-1 with a 2.63 ERA in his first six starts in April and early May.

Star of the night: Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols went 3 for 4 with a home run and three runs scored in St. Louis’s 7-4 win Thursday over the Marlins. Pujols finished a triple shy of the cycle in his first game with three or more hits since July 22.

Chatter: “It’s not how you would want one, but I’ll take it.” — Cardinals third baseman David Freese, who picked up an RBI in the third inning of St. Louis’s win over Florida when he was hit by a pitch in the helmet with the bases loaded. Freese had to leave the game with a mild concussion, but the run gave St. Louis a 4-3 lead.

By Greg Schimmel  |  07:00 AM ET, 08/05/2011

 
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