Yanks & Eovaldi make Price pay the price

Last week at Fenway Park David Price got a winning decision over the Yankees despite allowing six runs. That was due in part to Nathan Eovaldi also giving up six runs to the Red Sox, who went on to an 8-7 victory that finished off Boston’s three-game sweep.

Not this time.

Once again, David Price was stung for six runs by the Yankees, but that was a more efficient Eovaldi on the mound Saturday for the Yankees, whose 8-2 victory before a sellout crowd of 47,822 at Yankee Stadium was Price’s first loss in five decisions this year. Price’s record is good but not his ERA (6.75).

The Yankees need Luis Severino (0-4) to turn things around Sunday night to repay the Red Sox with a sweep of this series.

Eovaldi’s solid eight-inning outing was the latest strong start for the Yankees. Over this past turn in the rotation Yankees starters combined for a 2-1 record with two no-decisions and a 1.80 ERA in 35 innings. Their ERA over the past four games is 1.24. That is why starting pitching is so important. The rotation struggled throughout April but seems to be coming around this month.

Eovaldi allowed six hits, including a home run to Jackie Bradley Jr., but did not walk a batter and struck out six to even his record at 2-2. Walks were a problem for Price. He walked three batters, and each scored. Particularly damaging was a walk to light-hitting Dustin Ackley (.111) in the fourth inning that loaded the bases, which were cleared on a double to right field by Didi Gregorius off a 0-2 pitch.

The next inning, Price walked Aaron Hicks (.132) and Starlin Castro. Both scored on a two-out double by Carlos Beltran that chased Price, whose career mark against the Yankees fell to 14-8 with a 4.34 ERA. Price came into the game with a career record of 8-2 with a 3.28 ERA at the Stadium, but it was not a comfort zone for him Saturday.

It was the ninth time in 33 career games (32 starts) against the Yankees that Price allowed at least five earned runs. Over the past 20 seasons, only two pitchers have given up at least five earned runs to the Yankees more often — Tim Wakefield (12) and Mark Buehrle (10). Also with nine such games were Josh Beckett, Bartolo Colon and Rodrigo Lopez. Price has allowed five or more earned runs in four of his seven starts this year and is 1-1 with a 9.26 ERA in two starts against the Yankees. The Red Sox may be wondering if Price is worth the $217-million contract they gave him.

The bottom third of the lineup was especially productive for the Yankees. Chase Headley, Gregorius and Austin Romine teamed up to go 7-for-11 (.636) with three runs, three doubles and five RBI. Two of the doubles were by Romine, the backup catcher and 9-hole hitter, and each drove a run. In seven starts this season, Romine has batted .381 with three doubles and three RBI in 21 at-bats. He also did a fine job behind the plate in working with Eovaldi, whose ERA when Romine catches is 3.60 in 20 innings and 6.11 in 17 2/3 innings when Brian McCann has caught him.

Headley had two singles and scored two runs in his first multi-hit game in 14 games since April 19. Gregorius improved his career record with the bases loaded to .345 with 23 RBI in 29 at-bats.

It was the largest run output for the Yankees since April 9 at Detroit (also eight runs). This month, the Yankees have scored 26 runs (4.33 per game) and batted .269 with runners in scoring position. Last month, they scored 25 runs (2.27 per game) and hit .174 in the clutch.

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