David Price rises to the occasion for Red Sox

From ESPN - July 16, 2017

BOSTON -- #AllRise?

Oh, Jackie Bradley Jr. rose, all right.

Bradley rose so high Sunday night that he came down with what should have been New York Yankees phenom Aaron Judge's 31st homer of the season. It happened in the eighth inning of the finale of a day-night doubleheader at Fenway Park with the Boston Red Sox leading by three runs. Judge crushed a ball to the center-field triangle, but Bradley tracked it, timed his leap and made one of the best catches you will ever see -- even if the Red Sox center fielder insists it was not his most difficult.

"It actually made the hair stand up on my arms," right fielder Mookie Betts said after a 3-0 victory. "It was electric. It was just a fun moment to be a part of."

But David Price rose, too, for the Red Sox. In the long run, that was the most meaningful takeaway from Sunday night.

The Red Sox and Yankees played four games in the past three days, including 34 innings in a span of 31 hours between Saturday and Sunday. By the time Price threw his first pitch at 8:10 p.m., the Sox had dropped back-to-back games, failed to score a run in 22 consecutive innings and watched their division lead over the Yankees shrink to 2.5 games.

A strong case could be made that Boston needed its $217 million lefty as much as at any point until he makes his next postseason start. And he delivered.

Price set the tone by getting out of a two-on, two-out situation in the first inning and cruised for the next seven. In his 10th start since returning from a spring-training elbow injury, he was at his very best, blanking the Yankees on seven hits and striking out eight in eight walk-free innings to outduel Masahiro Tanaka.

Betts provided the offense, slugging a two-run homer over the Green Monster in the third inning and manufacturing a run with his speed in the sixth. But in a series dominated by pitching -- Red Sox starters combined for a 1.63 ERA, while Yankees starters posted a 2.55 mark -- Price's start was an exclamation point.

In the post-David Ortiz era, the Red Sox are built around their pitching, especially their starting rotation. And if Price continues to pitch like this -- on the heels of ace lefty Chris Sale's latest masterpiece of 7⅔ scoreless innings on Saturday -- nobody will catch the Sox in the American League East.

"It starts with David Price," manager John Farrell said. "That was just a great game from him. He was outstanding -- powerful from start to finish, a lot of strikes, very good command. It was impressive to see how he maintained his stuff throughout. Fastball to both sides of the plate. I thought he had a really good cutter. On a night when we needed a bounce-back win, it was a big performance by David."

Said Bradley: "David pitched spectacular tonight. It was definitely fun playing behind him. Hopefully this helps us with some momentum going forward."


Continue reading at ESPN »