NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka struck out first baseman Mike Napoli twice and was one strike from a third strikeout.
The next pitch the right-hander threw to Napoli wound up carrying just far enough into the right field seats for a go-ahead home run that lifted the Boston Red Sox to a 2-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Saturday night.
"He made a mistake with his fastball," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "He didn't get it where he wanted to. He did have a lot of success with the split. It's not where he's trying to throw it. He made a mistake with location. So you got to live with it."
That location was over the outer edge of the plate and the right-handed-hitting Napoli drove it high enough to clear the right field fence for his 10th home run of the season. The 96 mph pitch also came after Tanaka shook off catcher Brian McCann twice after getting consecutive swings and misses to bring the count to 1-2.
"The sign was for a breaking ball, but I actually wanted to go hard outside with my fastball," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "So that's why I shook him off. The fact is with the pitch, I missed my spot and got it to a spot that was (easy for the batter)."
Napoli said, "He threw a bunch of them (slider and splitters) at me tonight. He got me where he wanted me. I was hoping he was going to hang the split and I was trying to get something up in the zone.
"I'm just looking for something up. I'm just trying to be short (with my swing) in that situation, put the barrel on the ball and put it in play somewhere."
Napoli's home run lifted the Red Sox to their third win in nine games against the Yankees this season. It also handed Tanaka consecutive losses for the first time on a night when he pitched his third complete game.
"I was in the dugout," Boston starter Jon Lester said of Napoli's home run. "Obviously, (I was) pretty excited. He pitched pretty well all night and Napoli put a good swing on that ball right there. Luckily, we're in Yankee Stadium and not anywhere else and the ball goes out."
Before the home run, Tanaka retired 12 of the previous 13 hitters, including designated hitter David Ortiz on a 5-5-3 double play against a defensive shift.
The home run made a winner of Lester (9-7), who allowed an unearned run and five hits in eight innings. Lester took a no-hitter into the sixth and worked out of trouble in the late innings while becoming the first Red Sox to allow no earned runs and five or fewer hits in New York since his five-hitter at old Yankee Stadium on July 5, 2008.
"We needed that outing," Boston catcher David Ross said. "I'm glad we got him that win. He pitched phenomenally, two good pitchers going at it."
Lester lost his no-hit bid in the sixth when he allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner, who was then caught stealing second by Ross. Lester allowed two more hits in the inning but retired first baseman Mark Teixeira and designated hitter Carlos Beltran.
The Yankees threatened in the eighth when Gardner walked, but second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who had three hits, started a key double play against shortstop Derek Jeter.
The Yankees still nearly scored the go-ahead run when former Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury singled, stole second and kept running when Boston made two bad throws. But the play was nullified by Teixeira getting called out on a close strike three for the final out of the eighth.
In the ninth, the Yankees went down in order against Koji Uehara, who posted his 17th save by striking out McCann.
The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead with one out in the third on a solo home run by Ross, but the Yankees tied it in the third on Jeter's RBI groundout that came after shortstop Stephen Drew misplayed second baseman Brian Roberts' ground ball for an error.
NOTES: The Red Sox promoted prospect Mookie Betts from Triple-A Pawtucket and will play him in right field and center field. Betts has mostly played second base in the minors and was Boston's fifth-round pick in 2011. He batted .354 for Double-A Portland before hitting .290 for Pawtucket. ... The Red Sox optioned RHP Rubby De La Rosa to Pawtucket so he could start Tuesday night for the Triple-A team. ... New York LHP CC Sabathia (right knee) allowed two runs and three hits in 2 1/3 innings in a rehab game for Single-A Tampa. ... New York general manager Brian Cashman said he's hoping to make an addition to the pitching staff and that he'd ideally like to do it before Sabathia and RHP Michael Pineda return.