NEW YORK — David Price was perfectly cordial to the media Thursday night. There weren’t many positive things to say about his pitching, though.
"It was not tough at all to focus here," Price said, speaking softly in the middle of the clubhouse. "This is baseball. Stuff happens. It happens to the best of the best. It happened to me tonight."
Michael Pineda (7-3) rebounded from a rough outing with seven brilliant innings, and New York took two of three from its biggest rival in their first series at Yankee Stadium this year. On the strength of stingy performances by CC Sabathia and Pineda, the Bronx Bombers outscored Boston 17-1 in the final two matchups even though the Red Sox started a pair of Cy Young Award winners.
New York holds a three-game lead in the AL East over Boston.
Making his third appearance this season since recovering from a strained left elbow, Price (1-1) was tagged for six runs and eight hits in five innings. He served up both of Sanchez’s homers, a three-run shot in the third and a two-run drive in the fifth.
"I’ll be ready in five days," Price said.
Minutes after Wednesday night’s game, Price got into a heated argument with a Red Sox beat writer just outside the team’s clubhouse. According to reports, Price cursed at the reporter and then two others when they asked to interview him.
"I can’t say he was not disrespectful," Boston manager John Farrell said Thursday.
Farrell said he didn’t think the altercation would affect Price on the mound. The manager said Price would be spoken to and the situation would be "handled" at another time because he didn’t want to distract the left-hander on a day he was pitching.
"Obviously, it was an emotional conversation," Farrell said. "There will be follow-up, yeah."
Whatever the reason, Price wasn’t sharp in a ballpark that’s been nothing but trouble for him lately.
Coming off an excellent outing in Baltimore, he walked four and threw back his head in disgust after giving up Sanchez’s three-run homer. Price dropped to 14-11 with a 4.70 ERA versus New York, which is batting .369 against him over the past two seasons. He has a 3.01 career ERA against all other teams.
Since signing a $217 million, seven-year contract with the Red Sox as a free agent, Price is 1-4 with an 8.31 ERA in six starts against New York. He’s lost all four outings at Yankee Stadium during that stretch.
Price has made 36 career starts against the Yankees, 11 more than versus any other team. He said a blister that cropped up in the fifth didn’t affect him at all.
"I threw the ball extremely well against those guys two years ago," he said. "This is a tough lineup to pitch against, and I look forward to the next time I can do it."
Sanchez, dropped from second to sixth in the lineup Wednesday, has four homers and nine RBIs in seven at-bats against Price. Two of the slugger’s five career multihomer games have come this month.
"I think he’s starting to feel it a little bit now," teammate Aaron Judge said. "It’s exciting. Every time that guy comes up to the plate, he’s due to do some damage."
Brett Gardner hit his 13th homer — all in 35 games since April 29 — and an RBI single for New York. Judge had three hits and a walk, scoring twice.
Pineda yielded four hits and struck out eight. He did not permit an earned run after getting knocked around last Friday in a loss at Toronto that ended a long string of solid starts.
"I think we’ve seen a lot of growth in Michael this year, and we need to continue to see it," manager Joe Girardi said.
Judge’s line-drive single up the middle in the sixth registered an exit velocity of 120 mph off the bat — the hardest-hit ball in the majors this season, according to MLB Statcast. The 6-foot-7, 282-pound rookie holds the top three spots on that list.
Pineda surpassed his win total from last season. He is 6-1 with a 1.96 ERA in seven starts at Yankee Stadium this year.
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia is expected back in the lineup Friday night against Detroit. The four-time All-Star and 2008 AL MVP has been on the disabled list since May 30 with a sprained left wrist. … LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (right knee) was set to play catch for the second consecutive day. Rodriguez went on the 10-day DL last Friday. "There’s growing confidence in the stability that he deals with," Farrell said. "This has been a pretty good advancement here in these 48 hours."
Yankees: 1B Greg Bird went 1 for 3 with two walks for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Lehigh Valley after his rehab assignment was moved from Class A Tampa. Bird has been on the DL since May 2 with a bruised right ankle.
Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson (2-0, 2.57 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to face the Tigers when Boston begins a five-game homestand Friday night. Johnson’s most recent major league outing was a five-hit shutout May 27 against Seattle. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (5-4, 5.98) pitches for Detroit.
Yankees: Rookie LHP Jordan Montgomery (3-4, 3.67 ERA) starts against Dylan Bundy (6-4, 2.93) and the Orioles in the opener of a three-game set between AL East foes. Bundy beat Montgomery 3-2 on May 29 in Baltimore.