Michael Pineda and Gary Sanchez led the Yankees to a 7–1 win over the Red Sox

Michael Pineda — Newsday.Com

Michael Pineda pitched 7.0 innings while allowing 0 earned runs, only four hits and eight strikeouts and Gary Sanchez slugged two homers in the 7–1 win over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday. The Yankees have now won four of the five games that they have played against the Red Sox this season.

“In the offseason I worked hard on having a better changeup and right now I feel good because I am using it and am trusting it,” Pineda said. “I feel really good because you work hard to help your team. Everything right now looks good, so I am happy with that.”

Pineda threw 18 changeups on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium and the Red Sox were not successful against that pitch. This was a great bounce back start as all his pitches were working against the Red Sox after he allowed five runs in five innings in his last start. Pineda, whose ERA is now down to 3.39, has now allowed three earned runs or less in 10 of his 12 starts this season and has allowed two earned runs or fewer seven of his 12 games.

Pineda’s 13.6 swing and miss percentage was fifth highest in the league entering the game.

Didi Gregorius got a single in the second on a ball that went between Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. that Betts dove for but couldn’t catch. That put runners on first and second. Chase Headley and Chris Carter were retired but Brett Gardner was jammed by David Price but still hit a single to shallow right on a 95 mph fastball to drive in Gary Sanchez for the first run of the game.

Gardner was able to adjust from his first at-bat to have his 11th hit in 45 at-bats against the Red Sox lefty. Gardner was 2–5 with two RBI and was able to have his first multi-hit game since June 1.

Sanchez hit a three-tun homer to drive in Aaron Judge and Matt Holliday that landed near the State Farm sign in left center. It was on an 87 mph changeup that was not where Price wanted it.

Price’s ineffectiveness against the Bronx Bombers continued as his six earned runs in five innings added up to him allowed 12 earned runs in his last 11.1 innings pitched. He gave up six runs in 6.1 innings pitched in his last start against the Yankees last season

Headley made two impressive defensive plays in the top of the fifth. .

Sanchez hit an opposite field two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth for his second homer and 5th RBI. The last time he homered in a game was on June 1 in Toronto against the Blue Jays and during that game he also hit two homers. Sanchez’s two homers were off of a fastball and a changeup.

In the game on June 1 and Thursday’s game against the Red Sox, Sanchez combined to go 4–9 with four homers and eight RBI. However, in the games between June 1 and June 8, Sanchez went 2–17 with one RBI.

Proving how much of a home run hitter Sanchez is is that even though he he missed about a month with a bicep injury his eight homers are tied for third in the American League. Last season, after not being called up for good until the beginning of August, Sanchez finished third among catchers in the American League with 20 homers. He is on his way to finishing third or higher at his position once again.

It’s a positive that his power has returned in the last week but he is still looking for more consistency.

Joe Girardi was impressed with Sanchez’s performance and liked that he was able to go the other way.

“Just a big night from Gary,” Joe Girardi said. “Our guys did a good job making Price work tonight. He is a huge bat. He has had a couple multi homer games in the last week, which is good to see. He went to right field, which is good to see.”

Price was taken out of the game after five innings. His line was eight hits, six earned runs, four walks and two homers. The Yankees scored their seventh run, in the sixth inning, off of reliever Fernando Abad. He gave up an RBI single to left by Starlin Castro that scored Aaron Judge and in turn Abad had a bad outing.

Gardner hit a solo homer to lead off the eighth off of a hanging slider that went into the bullpen and landed near the FedEx sign. That was his 13th homer, and he will pass his career high of 17 that he set in 2014. Gardner and Holliday have become known as the “bald brothers” and Gardner now has one more homer than Holliday.

The ninth run was scored later in the 8th inning with the bases loaded on a fielder’s choice by Castro that scored Aaron Hicks. Castro was 2–5 with two RBI and was one of five Yankees with a multi-hit game.

Pineda struck out Bradley for the first out in the seventh on an 84 mph slider. That was his 105th pitch of the game. He then struck out Josh Rutledge for his 8th strikeout of the game.

“Consistency and cut on his fastball. I think he has used his changeup better this year, and his slider this year. I think we have seen a lot of growth in Michael this year.”

The league average ERA for a starting pitcher is 4.20 ERA and Pineda, CC Sabathia, Jordan Montgomery and Luis Severino all have ERAs significantly below that. Severino has an outstanding 2.90 ERA, Pineda has a 3.39 ERA after Thursday’s start, CC Sabathia has a 3.66 ERA and Montgomery has a solid 3.67 ERA.

The pitching and offense have performed very well in the last 10 games. The Yankees have scored 6.1 runs a game and have a rotation ERA of 2.96.

“I think it’s important that you take care of your home field advantage,” Girardi said. “It’s a toughs stretch. Thirteen straight games in the division, and we’ve been OK.”

The Yankees, who now have a 3-game lead over the Red Sox in the division after winning the series, will start a 3-game series against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday to end the 13-game stretch against AL East opponents.