Saturday's victory over the Yankees was certainly a step in the right direction for the Red Sox, but they likely still have a long way to go to ease the season-long frustrations voiced by Dustin Pedroia following Friday's series-opening loss.

After all, the Red Sox are still just 50-51 on the year, marking the latest they've been below .500 since Oct. 3, 2001. They also remain alone in last place in the American League East, a place they haven't been this late in a calendar year since Sept. 10, 1997, when they sat in a three-way tie.

"We'll turn it around," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said after Friday's loss. "We'll get on a good streak. We haven't had our good streak yet. That's the good news."

The Red Sox are hoping Saturday's victory could be the start of such a streak. On Sunday, they will turn to left-hander Felix Doubront, hoping he can lead them to a series victory and back to that .500 plateau.

Though Doubront is coming off a rocky performance in taking a loss last Monday against the Rangers, he did lead the Red Sox to their only win over the Yankees prior to Saturday's triumph. The southpaw limited the Yanks to four runs (three earned) off just four hits over 6 1/3 innings en route to a 9-5 victory earlier this month.

The other side of the pitching matchup also could work in Boston's favor, as the Red Sox teed off on Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda the last time they faced him. Kuroda was tagged for seven runs (six earned) off 10 hits in just 5 2/3 innings back on July 6 -- though he took a no-decision as the Yankees went on to win the 10-8 slugfest.

"As a starter, you want to go deeper in the game," Kuroda said through an interpreter after that game, in which the teams both put up five runs in the first inning. "Five innings is not enough as a starter. I got run support in the first inning, but I couldn't hold onto the lead, so I just didn't do my job."

Less than a month later, Kuroda will get his shot at redemption in prime time as he tries to lead the Yanks to their seventh win in nine tries against the Red Sox this season.

Red Sox: Crawford gets mandated rest day
It wasn't discomfort or fatigue that led to Carl Crawford's absence from Saturday's starting lineup. Instead, it was a plan put in place by the team's medical staff that suggests Crawford should not play more than four days in a row.

Though the Red Sox had an off-day Thursday, manager Bobby Valentine left Crawford out of Saturday's lineup so he could have his outfielder available for the team's next three games, all of which are against right-handed starters.

"I'd like to have Carl every day," said Valentine, who bucked the guideline earlier this month and used Crawford in six consecutive games from July 16-21. "I'd like to have all my good players every day, but I understand the situation better now than I did then."

Crawford, who has a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow and will likely undergo Tommy John surgery after the season, said he prefers to be in the lineup, but he understands the medical staff's concern.

"My understanding is that I got [Saturday] off, and I know the medical people want me to get rest," Crawford said. "I'm not really sure what's the program on it. I guess that's the way it is right now. I came here ready to play, like I always do. I found out [Saturday] morning I wasn't playing.

"That's it, pretty much. Could I play? Yeah, I could play. ... Like I say, they're following that method right there. I'm just going along with the way things are."

Yankees: Girardi being patient with Swisher
Manager Joe Girardi was hoping to plug Nick Swisher back in the lineup Saturday, but the skipper wasn't convinced the outfielder was completely healed from his strained left hip flexor.

Swisher pinch-hit in the ninth inning Saturday, and he was encouraged that his return to game action could lead to a start in the finale.

"I would think so," Swisher said. "I would think if you're able to pinch-hit [after] sitting on the bench for three hours, you're able to DH, at least. We'll come back here tomorrow and see what they say."

Worth noting
• The Yankees' 159 home runs through their first 100 games are the most in franchise history at that point in the season.

• Adrian Gonzalez has not struck out in any of his 32 career plate appearances against Kuroda, the most he's had against any pitcher without striking out at least once.

• Doubront has limited the Yankees to a .180 opponents' batting average, his third-best against any team, in his six games (two starts) against the Bronx Bombers.

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