The Boston Red Sox avoided getting swept Sunday by taking down the rival New York Yankees 5-1 on Mother’s Day behind some phenomenal pitching.  

Steven Wright continues to be a revelation for Boston. The 31-year-old knuckleballer breezed through the night, allowing just one run and three hits to throw his first career complete game. Wright is now 3-3 with a sparkling 1.52 ERA.

David Ortiz blasted two home runs, while Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts provided two more to hand Luis Severino the loss. He is now 0-5 on the season and looks to be a possible candidate for demotion, according to NJ Advance Media’s Brendan Kuty

This edition of Red Sox-Yankees was one of the faster games one will ever see between the two, which the Boston Herald‘s Evan Drellich acknowledged after the final pitch: 

Severino started off rough. After the Yankees pitcher walked leadoff man Mookie Betts, Pedroia homered to right field to put the Sox up 2-0. According to ESPN Stats & Info, it was all about being in the right place for Pedroia:

The Boston Globe‘s Dan Shaughnessy reported Sunday that Pedroia showed struggling Boston ace David Price pictures of his delivery from past seasons in an attempt to help the 30-year-old. That led Barstool Sports’ Jared Carrabis to tweet: 

The 22-year-old Yankees righty recovered nicely, though, as Newsday‘s Erik Boland noted:

Severino continued that streak to 10 batters before Ortiz jacked a 97 mph pitch into the right field stands to give Boston a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning.

It was a historic homer for Ortiz, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe and ESPN Stats & Info: 

Ortiz made the most of the dinger as he took his time around the basepath, per’s director of baseball research and development, Daren Willman:

Meanwhile, Wright was cruising. He threw only 53 pitches through five innings. By comparison, Severino had 86 after five. This caused’s DJ Bean to heave some high praise toward Wright while possibly slighting Price:

According to Spotrac, Price is making $30 million this season, the first of the seven-year, $217 million deal he signed in the offseason.

Drellich noted that both pitchers were pitching well through five innings:

The difference was that Wright was making quick work of the Yankees, while Severino faced tougher at-bats and made two mistakes on the homers to Ortiz and Pedroia.

Yet Ortiz was not done, as he took Severino yard again to right field for his second of the night to pad Boston’s lead to 4-0 in the seventh inning. NESN’s Tom Caron noted that Ortiz is playing his best against the Yankees in 2016:

Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal mentioned that this could be bad news for the Yankees moving forward:

Severino‘s night ended after Brock Holt singled to right two batters later.’s Bryan Hoch acknowledged that Severino pitched well for most of the night, but allowing three home runs is never a recipe for success:

It took until the seventh inning until before any Yankee was in scoring position. Starlin Castro doubled to right on the team’s second hit of the night. Castro returned the favor by getting thrown out at third after contemplating taking home on an errant pitch. This was poor baserunning—or perhaps something else, according to Bean: 

Castro’s blunder stifled any type of momentum the Yankees had. Wright proceeded to shut them down to finish the complete game. Bogaerts added some extra insurance with his homer off of Chasen Shreve in the eighth inning, which the Providence Journal‘s Tim Britton said is familiar territory for the shortstop:

The only bright spot for the Yankees was a bullet from Brett Gardner to throw out Hanley Ramirez in the ninth inning. While it was a great throw, its only real significance was keeping the score from becoming 6-0 at the time.

Gardner then followed that up with a home run in the ninth inning to spoil Wright’s shutout.

Despite still dropping the series, there is no need to panic for Boston. The team is a legitimate contender in the American League East, and behind a strong pitching staff—assuming David Price gets back to his usual dominance—and a rejuvenated offense that leads the American League in runs, the Red Sox look like a team that could be a factor come October.

Star reliever Aroldis Chapman is set to return Monday from suspension, but the Yankees still have some problems to sort out before getting too excited about their marquee offseason acquisition. The team needs to find consistency with its lineup and starting pitching staff. New York ranks among the worst in baseball in runs scored and ERA.

Unless these areas improve, its heralded bullpen will not be of much use.


Postgame Reaction

Heading into the season, Wright was an afterthought with the addition of Price and the presence of other highly paid guys like Rick Porcello, who is a year into a four-year, $82.5 million contract.

It now appears Wright will be a key part of manager John Farrell’s rotation moving forward, per Abraham:

Not only is Wright’s performance providing Boston with wins like Sunday’s, but it’s also giving Price some room for error as the team continues to win despite his struggles. When he gets back to form, this rotation will be stout.

Ortiz, who single-handedly provided Wright with enough run support, was happy to get his team the win and to do so on a special day, per Britton:

His performance also drew the attention of Cubs lefty Jon Lester, a former Red Sox pitcher:

The problems continue to mount for the Yankees. With Jacoby Ellsbury and Alex Rodriguez already out with injuries, Castro indicated that he also banged himself up Sunday, according to Hoch:

New York is struggling to score runs, and losing another key part of the lineup would further hinder its attempt to turn the season around, but it does not appear that Castro’s injury is too serious.

Manager Joe Girardi also shut down talk that Severino is facing a demotion after his slow start, per’s Wallace Matthews:

This is a good approach for now. Severino is showing signs of improvement, as he pitched well for most of the night Sunday. He just needs to start seeing some results to boost his confidence. If his slide continues for a few more starts, it may then be time to send him down to find his game before he loses faith in it.

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