Rodriguez's strong outing spoiled by 1 pitch

Red Sox rookie posts quality start, but allows decisive blast to Ellsbury in 7th

Rodriguez's strong outing spoiled by 1 pitch

NEW YORK -- In the first of what he hopes will be many starts at Yankee Stadium, Eduardo Rodriguez was unnerved by the big stage Thursday night. Boston's rookie lefty went toe to toe with CC Sabathia, only to have one misfire spoil his night.

Rodriguez hung a 2-1 slider to Jacoby Ellsbury with one out in the seventh, and Boston's former center fielder walloped it into the second deck in right field. That blast snapped a tie and sent the Red Sox to a 2-1 loss to the Yankees.

"He pitched a very strong seven innings," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I thought he deserved better given the way he threw the baseball. I thought he got stronger as the night went on. He might have got a little bit quick after the leadoff strikeout to [Brendan] Ryan, and Ellsbury's at-bat, the one breaking ball doesn't get to the intended spot."

For Rodriguez, the experience was invaluable. Perhaps by next year at this time, the Red Sox and Yankees will be fighting it out for the lead in the American League East.

This year, things haven't gone nearly that well for the Sox, who trail the Yankees by 14 games.

For the Red Sox, the rest of the season is about preparing for the future -- which Rodriguez should be a big part of.

"I just wanted to get under control at the time, not think about where I am, and just try to pitch good," said Rodriguez, who gave up six hits and two runs over seven innings.

Despite having strong starting pitching from three rookie starters in this series -- Henry Owens, Steven Wright and Rodriguez -- the Red Sox lost two of three because they scored just six runs.

It was the latest case in point of what has gone wrong for Boston in 2015. When the club hits, it has trouble pitching. When the pitching comes around, the hitting goes into a slump.

"Yeah, six runs in the series is difficult," said Farrell. "We had opportunities -- fifth, eighth, ninth with runners in scoring position. CC threw the ball well for them, but we had plenty of opportunities to cash in there. We've got to find a way to generate some more runs. You'd think that would be the case with the guys in our lineup."

The Red Sox had the man they wanted up at the plate in the fifth, when David Ortiz had the bases loaded with two outs. But Sabathia struck him out swinging to win a battle between two of the best competitors in the game.

Sabathia celebrated by furiously clapping his hand into his glove.

"I don't mind," said Ortiz. "When I go deep, I put on my show, too. It goes back and forth."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.