Sunday September 15, 2013 | 05:50 AM

Jon Lester just beat the Yankees 5-1 Saturday afternoon, pitching a three-hitter over eight innings. He also reached 200 innings for the season, a mark he admittedly takes pride in.

But as reporters kept asking Lester about all the good things, he reverted to his even-keeled self and pointed out the bad.

"Had a couple 0-2 (counts) go to 3-2, to a walk. Those are unacceptable.

"Struggled a little bit with my cutter as far as getting it (inside)."

That was it. And even with that, Lester was too harsh. He did get ahead of Alex Rodriguez 0-2 and walked him (on eight pitches). With his only other walk, he was ahead 0-1.

As for the cutter, it still worked well enough, especially with his 95 mph fastball zipping in at the corners.

For more on Lester, see today's game story.

In today's column, we talk about Lester and Napoli and how these Red Sox keep grinding along.

For a New York perspective, read the Daily News' John Harper.

The Rays also won (moving into a tie with Texas for the top Wild Card spot).

The numbers:

Red Sox 91-59
Rays 81-66 (8.5 games back)
Yankees 79-70 (11.5)
Orioles 78-70 (12)

To clinch a playoff spot: 4
To clinch the AL East: 6
To clinch the best record in the AL: 11

Boston (12): Yankees (1), Orioles (3), Blue Jays (3), at Rockies (2), at Orioles (3).
Rays (15): at Twins (1), Rangers (4), Orioles (4), at Yankees (3), at Blue Jays (3).

Division Leaders
Boston 91-59
Oakland 87-61
Detroit 85-63

Wild Card
Texas 81-66
Tampa Bay 81-66
Cleveland 80-68 (1.5)
New York 79-70 (3)
Baltimore 78-70 (3.5)
Kansas City 78-70 (3.5)

Finally, Durham beat Pawtucket 7-0 Saturday to clinch the International League championship. It will be interesting how many of the PawSox (who are on Boston's 40-man roster) will be called up to Fenway. Among the candidates are pitchers Steven Wright, Pedro Beato and Brayan Villarreal. Outfielder Alex Hassan might also get a call.

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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