Jason Giambi drove in a run off Boston’s Josh Beckett and Joba Chamberlain held the Red Sox to three hits over seven innings as the Yankees spoiled the return of David Ortiz with a 1-0 victory.
The Yankees improved to 57-45, extended their winning streak to seven games and pulled within two games of the 60-44 Red Sox in the American League East.
Tampa Bay lead the division.
Alex Rodriguez and Bobby Abreu had two hits apiece for the Yankees.
After Abreu and Rodriguez singled off Beckett with two outs in the third, Giambi singled to short with the infield shift on, allowing Abreu to score.
Chamberlain allowed three hits over a career-high seven innings and matched a career-high with nine strikeouts.
Both teams were warned after Chamberlain buzzed Kevin Youkilis with a fastball in the seventh, which hit Youkilis’ bat for a foul ball.
Mariano Rivera notched his 26th save in as man chances, getting the last five outs after Kyle Farnsworth allowed two batters to reach in the eighth.
The Red Sox welcomed back veteran slugger Ortiz, who hadn’t played since May 31 as he recovered from a torn wrist tendon.
RAYS 5, ROYALS 3
At Kansas City, Edwin Jackson surpassed his victory total for last season as Tampa Bay snapped a seven-game road losing streak.
The Rays, who moved one game in front of Boston in the AL East, won on the road for the first time since June 29, at Pittsburgh.
Jackson (6-7), who was 5-15 last season, did not yield a hit until Billy Butler homered to center with two outs in the fifth.
In other games it was:
• White Sox 6, Tigers 5
• Angels 6, Orioles 5
• Indians 5, Twins 4
• Jays 5, Mariners 4, 10 innings
Jeremy Hermida’s pinch-hit home run leading off the ninth inning gave the Florida Marlins a 3-2 win over the faltering Chicago Cubs in the National League on Friday.
The result kept Florida within two games of the lead in the tight NL East division, while Chicago only maintained its outright lead in the NL Central as a result of Milwaukee’s defeat.
Cubs starter Ryan Dempster walked a season-high six batters in six innings.
METS 7, CARDINALS 2
In New York, starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey won his seventh consecutive decision to steer New York past St. Louis.
Pelfrey allowed only one run in seven innings, striking out five and walking none.
Carlos Delgado homered for New York, which won for the 10th time in 11 home games to retain a two-game buffer atop the NL East.
The Cardinals slid to their fifth straight loss, drifting four games behind Chicago in the Central.
In other games it was:
• Diamondbacks 10, Giants 2
• Braves 8, Phillies 2
• Astros 3, Brewers 1
• Rockies 7, Reds 2
• Dodgers 3, Nationals 2
• Padres 6, Pirates 5