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Red Sox: Close, but not quite first place

Boston, New York both win Sunday matinees.

The Red Sox rode a solid Jon Lester start to a 6-1 win over the Royals today, but couldn't reclaim first place from the Yankees.

New York retained its half-game lead in the AL East with a 3-0 victory over the Twins.

Lester threw six innings of one-run, three-hit ball for Boston (77-49). Carl Crawford and Darnell McDonald homered in the road triumph. Lefty Danny Duffy took the loss for Kansas City despite posting a statistical quality start.

The Sox broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth when Jason Varitek plated Jed Lowrie with a triple to right-center. McDonald and Crawford homered in the sixth and seventh, and a three-run outburst in the eighth -- keyed by Ryan Lavarnway's RBI double -- sealed things.

Daniel Bard picked up his 30th hold with two runs of perfect relief. Dan Wheeler finished the game with a scoreless ninth.

Unfortunately for Boston, the Yankees (77-48) were just as good in Minnesota. New York's win was highlighted by back-to-back home runs in the seventh: an inside-the-parker by Curtis Granderson and a traditional shot by Mark Teixeira.

Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-5 in his return from the DL. The third baseman had missed more than a month of action after undergoing right knee surgery.

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