BOSTON -- Jon Lester is proving he's Boston's ace again.
Lester pitched eight dominant innings, and the AL East-leading Red Sox dealt the New York Yankees' wild-card hopes another blow with a 5-1 win on Saturday.
The 29-year old left-hander is 6-3 since mid-July with a 2.52 ERA in 12 starts after a rough stretch midway through the season.
"What he's done since the All Star break has been consistent with how he's started the season," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
"A well above-average pitcher, a front-line starter and that's what Jon Lester is."
Lester (14-8) was solid from the start, mixing a sharp cutter with a well-spotted, mid-90s fastball. He allowed one run and three hits, striking out five and walking two for his fourth win in six starts.
Midway through the season, he went 0-4 in six starts with a 7.20 ERA.
"I knew after what I went through at the middle of the year that it's just a matter of time and things will take care of itself," he said. "I think anytime you take someone that's had some success, your confidence is high."
-- The Associated Press