After coming up empty-handed in their first four tries, the Red Sox have finally taken a game from the New York Yankees with an 8-5 win over their division rivals Sunday night to avoid the three-game sweep and a double-digit game deficit in the American League East standings.
That much was made possible by David Price, who made his 10th start of the season for Boston to cap off the weekend.
Known for his career struggles inside Yankee Stadium, the left-hander put a halt to that narrative for the time being by twirling 6 1/3 solid innings Sunday, limiting the Yankees to just two runs on six hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts of the night.
Both of those New York runs came around to score in the fourth, where after taking a perfect game that far into it, Price buckled a bit by serving up a one-out solo home run to Luke Voit to break up the no-no, and then proceeded to allow the next three hitters he faced to reach base as well to fill the bases with two outs still to get.
So, after a terrific start to his outing, it looked as though things were going to take a turn for the worst for Price, but the southpaw responded well, yielding only one more run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Gio Urshela before getting out of the jam with a failed attempt of stealing home on behalf of Aaron Hicks. Heads up play by Sam Travis there.
From the middle of the fifth on, Price relatively cruised through the fifth and sixth innings before more trouble arose in the seventh.
There, a pair of singles to two of the first three hitters he faced in that frame would ultimately see Price’s night come to an end.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (65 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler turned to his cutter 36% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing five swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.5 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 17 times with Christian Vazquez behind the plate.
Later picking up his third winning decision while his ERA on the season remained at 2.83, Price will look for win number four in his next time out, which will come against his old club in the Tampa Bay Rays sometime next weekend.
In relief of Price, Heath Hembree took over in the seventh with inherited runners on first and second and one out in the inning.
Making his 27th appearance of the year already, Hembree needed all but five pitches to fan Austin Romine, but needed double that in an intense matchup against Brett Gardner.
Fortunately for Boston though, Hembree ultimately won the battle, as he got the Yankees veteran to sharply ground out to Michael Chavis at first, who made a great diving play to prevent a hit that would have seen at least one run cross the board.
In the eighth, Matt Barnes worked in less than favorable conditions with thrashing downpours and lightning making its way through the Bronx. It had to have been a quick moving cell though, because there was no real indication that this contest was going to go into a delay besides the effort what went into making field playable.
Still, it was clear to see that Barnes was frustrated having to pitch in such miserable conditions, even more so since he filled the bases on the first three hitters faced in the inning and balked in a run as well.
But, after allowing two more runs to cross the plate on an RBI groundout from Aaron Hicks and sacrifice fly from Gleyber Torres, Barnes did escape the eighth without giving anything else up by striking out Gio Urshela on three straight strikes.
And in the ninth, with an 8-5 lead to protect, Brandon Workman came on to close the door on the Yankees, and he did just that by working his way around a leadoff single and sitting down the last three hitters he faced to notch his second save of the season.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another veteran left-hander in CC Sabathia for the Yankees, making his first start since being activated from the 10-day injured list that same day.
After being held to just seven total runs in their first four meetings against New York, JD Martinez got the scoring started for Boston right away in this one by launching a two-out, 387 foot solo shot to left field to put his team on the board first with his 12th home run of the season.
An inning later, back-to-back one-out singles from Christian Vazquez and Michael Chavis put runners on the corners for Eduardo Nunez, who took full advantage by swinging at the first pitch he saw from Sabathia and grounding an RBI single through the right side of the infield to make it a 2-0 game early.
In the fourth, Xander Bogaerts led things off the same way he did in the fourth inning on Saturday, that being, demolishing a solo home run to left field. This one, good for his 12th of the season. 3-0 Boston.
Fast forward all the way to the seventh, after the Yankees had trimmed their deficit down to one run and Luis Cessa had taken over for Sabathia, it was the bottom of the Red Sox lineup getting things done once again, with Nunez plating Michael Chavis all the way from first while also advancing to third on another one-out RBI single to go along with a fielding error committed by Clint Frazier in right field.
Four pitches later, in came Brock Holt pinch-hitting for Sam Travis out of the nine-hole and the 2018 ALDS hero delivered with a run-scoring base knock that probably would have been a pop out had DJ LeMahieu not been playing in with a runner at third in a tight game. But, baseball’s baseball, and Holt came away with his fourth RBI of the season to give his team a three-run advantage.
Still in the seventh, with two outs now, Andrew Benintendi came through in a big spot, scoring Holt from first on an RBI single just out of the reach of a sprawling Frazier in right field. 6-2.
And in the eighth, a Xander Bogaerts leadoff double would translate into Boston’s seventh run coming around to score on an RBI single off the bat of Rafael Devers, who would wind up being the last batter Cessa faced.
In came reliever David Hale with his team trailing by five runs, and he would see that deficit inflate up to six thanks to Michael Chavis’ first career triple that drove in Devers from second to make it an 8-2 contest.
The Yankees did make things interesting by adding three runs of their own in their half of the eighth, but not enough in an 8-5 victory for the Red Sox.
Some notes from this win:
The Red Sox entered Sunday having scored seven runs against the Yankees all season. They scored eight runs in their only win against them thus far.
Since his return from the injured list on May 27th, Brock Holt is 6-for-his-last-18 with one double and three RBI.
In his last 15 games, Xander Bogaerts is slashing .406/.441/.750 with five home runs and 13 RBI.
The next time the Red Sox take on the Yankees will be later this month in London, England.
Next up for the Red Sox, it’s an off day on Monday before a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals kicks off at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday.
For the opener of that three-game set, it will be left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston, while right-hander Glenn Sparkman does the same for Kansas City.
Last working on May 26th, Rodriguez’s latest turn through the rotation was skipped due to that rainout on Friday.
In one prior start at Kauffman Stadium, the 26-year-old allowed one run over 6 1/3 innings in a winning effort way back on June 19th, 2015.
Sparkman, meanwhile has given up 10 earned runs in just 2.2 career innings against the Red Sox. That’s good for an ERA of 33.75.
First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 8:15 PM EDT on NESN.