Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Red Sox 3, Yankees 0: David Price comes up big in crucial game for AL East standings

Ryan Hannable
July 16, 2017 - 11:09 pm

Sunday night could have been a bad night for the Red Sox.

After dropping two of the first three games of the series to the Yankees, if the Red Sox lost the nightcap of the doubleheader their lead in the AL East would have been just 1.5 games, but thanks to an exceptional outing from David Price, the Red Sox beat the Yankees 3-0 and now lead New York by 3.5 games as well the Rays by three games. It was the first time the Yankees have been shut out all season. 

This was Price's best start of the season as he went eight shutout innings, scattering seven hits, while not walking a batter and striking out eight on 107 pitches. His outing ended in exciting fashion as with Gary Sanchez on first base with one out in the eighth, Aaron Judge crushed a ball to the triangle in right-center and Jackie Bradley Jr. jumped as high as he could against the wall to rob Judge of a homer, which would have made it a one-run game.

“I didn’t think it was going in the bullpen. I thought it was going to hit the jumbotron to be honest," Price said. "That’s the loudest ball I’ve heard. I’m pretty sure the wind was blowing in tonight. that’s the only reason why that ball stayed in, other than Jackie. That was special.”

Price then capped his start in style by striking out Matt Holliday to end the inning, which drew a loud ovation from the crowd.

Coming into the game, Price actually had bad numbers against the Yankees -- an 8.31 ERA in six starts against them as a member of the Red Sox, which was the second-highest ERA against Yankees by any Red Sox pitcher (minimum of 5 starts).

The left-hander has actually pitched very well this season since returning from an elbow injury. He's gone at least six innings and allowed three earned runs or less in each of his last five starts. Since allowing six runs in five innings against the Yankees on June 8, over his last seven starts he has an ERA of 2.66. Overall, his ERA this season is 3.39 in 10 starts.

"He was outstanding," manager John Farrell said. "Powerful from start to finish. A lot of strikes. Very good command. And it was impressive to see just how he maintained his stuff throughout. You know, fastball to both sides of the plate. I thought he had a really good cutter tonight, particularly with some times when he had some added depth to it. We staked him to a two-run lead, and he continued to go out and put up zeroes. On a night when we needed a bounceback win, it was a big performance by David tonight."

The Red Sox also finally got some production at the plate, as going into the game they hadn't scored a run in 22 innings and had just one run in their last 25 innings. Mookie Betts was able to end the streak with a two-run home run in the third inning off Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka, which scored Christian Vazquez. The scoreless streak ended at 24 innings.

Betts also scored the third run when Dustin Pedroia's single in the sixth drove him in. 

"It was a big night for Mookie," Farrell said. "The two-run homer and then the third run, he basically generated with his speed. Infield base hit, the overthrow, he's able to take second base, and then we finally broke through with an RBI single with a man in scoring position."

Sunday's game was an encouraging sign for the Red Sox as Price produced in a big spot.

The narrative going into the first series of the second half was the Red Sox could run away from the struggling Yankees in the division, but after the first three games that had flipped to the Yankees making it interesting again, and could have been really interesting with a Red Sox loss Sunday night. But after the win the Yankees leave town exactly where they entered -- 3.5 games back -- thanks to David Price.

The Red Sox and Yankees shut each other out in the respective games on Sunday. The teams had not shut each other out in any consecutive games since September 29 and 30 of 1987.

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