Boston Red Sox' Marco Scutaro hits an RBI single in...

Boston Red Sox' Marco Scutaro hits an RBI single in the third inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York. (Sept. 25, 2010) Credit: John Dunn

Maybe in a different Red Sox era, their clubhouse would have been energized after these two victories over the Yankees.

If it were a few years ago, perhaps Kevin Millar, Curt Schilling or Johnny Damon would have used this moment to start talking about a comeback for the ages.

But these Red Sox are different from their predecessors. They're, well, realistic. Subdued, too.

"I think we've got a chance," Jon Lester said after throwing seven scoreless innings in Boston's 7-3 victory over the Yankees yesterday. "With that being said, it's a long road."

The Red Sox wake up this morning 5½ games behind the Yankees with eight games remaining, which is one more than the Yankees have left. Realistically, the Red Sox can't afford to lose any of their remaining games - and they need some help from the Blue Jays against the Yankees this week, too.

According to the website coolstandings.com, which calculates playoff odds based on the remaining schedule, the Yankees have a 99.2 percent chance of making the postseason.

But for comparison's sake, when the Mets led the National League East by seven games with 17 games remaining in 2007, the website calculated their odds of making the postseason at 99.4 percent. How'd that work out?

"Weirder things have happened in baseball," Lester said. "We've got four more against the Yankees and we'll see. All we can do is go out there and play hard and put up a good effort."

The Red Sox arrived at Yankee Stadium Friday afternoon well aware that if they lost two of three, they not only would be eliminated from postseason contention but would have to watch their top rivals celebrate in front of them. But that hasn't happened.

On the heels of the Red Sox's 10-8 victory Friday night, Lester pitched a gem, allowing two hits and walking three to improve his record to 19-8. But he wasn't all that interested in talking about the possibility of going for 20 wins later this week, not when a playoff berth still is technically possible.

"We're trying to make a little bit of a run here and make the playoffs," he said. "That would mean more to me than 20 wins."

Right now, a more realistic accomplishment for the Red Sox would be making it to next weekend's series against the Yankees at Fenway Park still mathematically alive. And a big step in that direction would be completing the sweep tonight, when Daisuke Matsuzaka goes against the Yankees' Dustin Moseley.

"We've just got to keep playing and see what happens," said Victor Martinez, who homered in the seventh inning and is 16-for-40 (.400) with four home runs in his last 10 games.

The Red Sox have scored 17 runs with 26 hits in these last two games, and manager Terry Francona said his team is doing a good job of staying "in the moment."

"Today's over," Martinez said. "Tomorrow, we've got a brand- new day. We'll come tomorrow ready to play. And again let things happen and see what happens."

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