Rapid Reaction: Yankees 4, Red Sox 3

WHAT IT MEANS: The Yankees avoided an embarrassing four-game sweep at the hands of the Red Sox on Sunday with an improbable 4-3 win.

And they can thank Ichiro Suzuki for the victory.

Suzuki produced the winning run on his own. He singled with one out in the ninth, stole second, tagged and advanced to third on a fly ball to center and scored on a wild pitch. Game over, Yankees win.

The Yankees finished their homestand 6-4. They began the day 2.5 games behind Texas and Tampa Bay in the wild-card race. Texas and Tampa play later Sunday afternoon.

OH, MO: Suzuki's scamper around the bases saved Mariano Rivera. With the Yankees' bullpen thin from injury, Joe Girardi asked Rivera to convert a six-out save. But he couldn't deliver, allowing a game-tying homer to Will Middlebrooks with none out in the bottom of the ninth.

Rivera hadn't had a six-out save since the 2009 World Series. His last six-out save in the regular season was in 2006. He has seven blown saves on the season, his highest total since 2001.

ROCKIN' ROBBIE: Stop us if you've heard this before, but Robinson Cano has been pretty clutch for the Yankees. The latest example to support this theory came in the fifth inning on Sunday when Cano drilled a two-out, two-run double with the bases loaded to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead.

HIROKI OK: Starter Hiroki Kuroda tied his career high with 117 pitches in an effective afternoon for the Yankees.

He gave up five hits and two runs over six innings, walking two. Kuroda, who had struggled a bit in his past four starts, also struck out six. Boston starter Jon Lester scattered 10 hits over eight innings, giving up three runs.

BRUISED AND BATTERED: Yankees catcher Chris Stewart was hit by a pitch leading off the third inning. The beanball caused a contusion on Stewart's left foot. He was sent for precautionary X-rays and replaced by Austin Romine.

The Yanks also didn't have Derek Jeter in the lineup. Jeter's surgically repaired ankle is bothering him. He will sit for at least two days and then be re-evaluated.

THE DAILY A-ROD: It was a productive day for the Yankees' third baseman. A-Rod went 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk. The lone blemish? Rodriguez flew out to center with men on first and second to end the seventh.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Yankees travel to Baltimore for a four-game series with the Orioles, whom they currently trail in the standings.