David Price had an encouraging return Monday, but the same can’t be said for the Boston Red Sox’s bullpen.
The Red Sox left-hander allowed three earned runs over five solid innings, but Boston still lost 5-4 to the Chicago White Sox on Monday afternoon after the bullpen fell apart in the seventh inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. All three runs off Price came on a Melky Cabrera home run, but he kept his mistakes to a minimum in his first big league start since suffering an elbow injury during spring training.
The Red Sox fell to 27-23 with the loss, while the White Sox improved to 24-26.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
Everyone wanted to see how Price would pitch in his first game of the season, and he delivered with a solid start. The bullpen? Not so much.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
David Robertson shut down Boston in the top of the ninth inning for his eighth save of the season. It was a one-run game, so the Red Sox still had a chance, but Robertson crushed any shot at a comeback.
ON THE BUMP
— Price couldn’t have started his outing much better than he did. The left-hander needed only 14 pitches, 10 of which were strikes, to retire the side in order in the bottom of the first inning. He struck out Tim Anderson on an 87.7 mph cutter for the first out, and he got Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu to ground out for the final two outs. His four-seam fastball ranged from 92.4 to 95.3 mph, which was on the final pitch of the frame.
Price struck out Todd Fraizer at the start of the second inning. Matt Davidson later recorded the first hit against Price on a single, which was sandwiched between a lineout and pop out.
But Price hit a bit of a speedbump in the bottom of the third. He walked Adam Engel and Anderson, both with one out, and Cabrera followed with a three-run home run to make it 3-1 White Sox.
The left-hander fared better in the fourth, as he struck out the first two batters and got Yolmer Sanchez to fly out for a 1-2-3 inning.
He pitched himself into trouble in the top of the fifth by hitting the first two batters, but Xander Bogaerts helped him preserve the Red Sox’s lead with a magnificent diving stop to start a double play to end the threat.
Price allowed three earned runs on two hits while striking out four and walking two on 88 pitches over five innings. Fifty-eight of his pitches were strikes.
— Joe Kelly came on in the sixth inning and had two strikeouts with one walk.
— Matt Barnes had a rough seventh inning. Sanchez tripled off the right-hander to start the frame, and he scored on a Kevan Smith double. Barnes got the next two batters out, but Smith came around to score on a Cabrera hit to give the White Sox a 5-4 lead.
— Blaine Boyer pitched a 1-2-3 eighth.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Red Sox wasted no time giving Price some run support. Mookie Betts led off the game with a double, and he advanced to third on a Dustin Pedroia groundout. Pedroia suffered a sprained left wrist on the play and Josh Rutledge took over for him at second base after the bottom of the first. Bogaerts then popped out to a diving Abreu in foul territory, which was enough for Betts to score on a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0 Boston.
— Boston tied the game 3-3 in the top of the fourth thanks in large part to Christian Vazquez’s RBI double. Hanley Ramirez scored on Vazquez’s hit, and Sam Travis advanced to third base. Travis then scored on a Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI groundout.
— Betts put the Red Sox up 4-3 in the top of the fifth inning thanks to a solo home run that just barely hit the top of the left-field wall and bounced off the foul pole. It only went an estimated 332 feet, but, hey, Boston will take it.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Thank you to all who have served.
Chris Sale will be back on the mound in Chicago, albeit in different colored socks. The Red Sox left-hander will face his old team Tuesday night in an 8:10 p.m. ET matchup with the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. The White Sox will send left-hander Jose Quintana to the mound.
Thumbnail photo via Caylor Arnold/USA TODAY Sports Images