BOSTON — David Price was by no means dominant Friday night. But given how the Red Sox’s pitching staff has fared of late, his outing was more than serviceable.
The Red Sox left-hander gave up six hits over seven innings in Boston’s 5-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. He surrendered three runs, two of which were earned and came on his only major blemish of the night: A 2-0 fastball that Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion cranked to left-center field for a two-run homer.
Price’s outing — the fifth consecutive start in which he’s allowed three runs or fewer and pitched at least six innings — was a welcome departure from the 25 total runs that Boston pitching surrendered to the Baltimore Orioles in the team’s previous two games.
Yet it wasn’t without its blemishes. Control was an issue for the 30-year-old lefty, who tallied a season-high four walks and hit a batter.
“With (Toronto’s) right-handed power in this ballpark, there were some times where I thought he managed some at-bats, where he may have passed on a guy by putting him on with a walk,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Price.
One of those walks proved costly in the first inning, when Price walked reigning American League MVP Josh Donaldson before giving up a homer to Encarnacion. But the ace pushed back on the notion that he was trying to avoid any batter in his former team’s lineup.
“I’m not trying to work around guys,” Price said after the game. “… I definitely take pride in being able to command the baseball with all my pitches on both sides of the plate. That’s something I haven’t done very well as of late, but to be able to limit the damage in those innings where you are giving up walks, that’s something I’ve got to do.”
Price did manage to settle down after his early hiccup, and on most nights, three runs would be more than enough for the Red Sox’s high-powered offense. Yet on a night that saw his ERA dip below 5.00 (4.88) for the first time since mid-April, he’s not hanging his head.
“You’re not going to win them all,” Price said. “That was a tough game.”
Let’s hit a few other notes from Red Sox-Blue Jays:
— Koji Uehara’s rough season continued Friday. The right-handed reliever surrendered a two-run homer to Devon Travis on a split-fingered fastball in the eighth inning that squelched any chance of a Boston comeback. Uehara now owns a 4.57 ERA and has allowed multiple runs in four outings this season.
“The split has been inconsistent,” Farrell said of Uehara. “(Friday night), it didn’t have the typical finish. I thought where we were, with our lineup coming up in the next inning, a clean inning gives us possibly two innings to narrow the gap, but a split that stayed up, particularly in the at-bat to Travis, where there were a few that stayed up in the strike zone to him.
“There’s been times where he’s had quality, consistent finish to (his split). (Friday night) was not one of them.”
— Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey hit David Ortiz on the left wrist with a knuckleball in the first inning. The Red Sox designated hitter stayed in the game and went 2-for-2 with two doubles, but he was seen wearing a wrap on the wrist in the clubhouse after the game. Ortiz insisted he’ll be fine, however.
— Ortiz’s pair of doubles also put him in an exclusive club.
— Brock Holt still is recovering from a concussion that sent him to the disabled list on May 20, and Farrell said before Friday’s game that outfield work has been Holt’s biggest impediment to getting back on the field.
“He’s having to adjust to the flight of the ball. The focus that his eyes have to go through, that’s where he’s felt maybe the least confident,” Farrell said. “But it was slightly improved (Thursday).”
Holt won’t travel with the team on its upcoming West Coast road trip to San Francisco, instead going to Pittsburgh for a second visit with concussion specialist Dr. Michael Collins.
— Former Major League Baseball outfielder Billy Bean made an appearance at Fenway on Friday, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to help the Red Sox celebrate Pride Night. Bean publicly came out as gay in 1999 and currently serves as MLB’s first Ambassador of Inclusion.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images