One bad inning enough to sink Price in Bronx

One bad inning enough to sink Price in Bronx

NEW YORK -- David Price had a lead two batters into Sunday night's game against the Yankees when Dustin Pedroia went deep for a solo shot against Masahiro Tanaka.

Price doesn't think he should have needed any more in what turned into a 3-1 loss.

Price isn't having his best season, but he still thinks he should be able to best the other team's ace. And after Price signed a seven-year, $217 milllion contract in December, that's what the expectations are from everyone around the Red Sox, including Price.

Though Price pitched well for most of the night, he lost his grip on the lead -- and as it turned out, the ballgame -- in a three-run fourth inning.

"Not executing, again," said Price. "You guys are tired of hearing it and I'm tired of saying it. I've got to execute."

There have been plenty of flashes of brilliance from Price, including the start that preceded this one, when he fired eight shutout innings against the Rays in his final start before the All-Star break.

But the overall body of work (9-7, 4.36 ERA) is less than what Price demands of himself.

"No, I'm definitely not satisfied," said Price. "It was a bad fourth inning. Even when I was ahead, I couldn't execute whatever pitch I was throwing to get an out. That's tough. They gave me a lead there in the first inning with a home run by Pedey, and I couldn't capitalize."

The loss ended a six-game winning streak for the Red Sox, who remain two games behind the Orioles in the American League East.

"Our longest winning streak of the year, and to be the guy that goes up there and doesn't help us win that seventh one, that's tough," said Price.

The problem for Price in this one was a lack of a putaway pitch. Over 5 2/3 innings, he allowed 11 hits while striking out just one.

It was nearly two strikeouts when Starlin Castro seemed to have a hard time checking his swing on an 0-2 offering during that fateful fourth. But first-base umpire Rob Drake said Castro held, and the second baseman promptly slammed the next pitch into left for an RBI double that tied the game.

Castro's RBI double

"I didn't have as good a view as the umpire at first base, but it looked pretty good from where I was," said Price.

Two batters later, with two outs, Price endured more frustration as Austin Romine hammered a liner up the middle that Pedroia nearly made a dazzling snare on. Instead, it ticked off Pedroia's glove and into center and the Yankees had the lead for the rest of the night.

Romine's RBI single

"I thought he threw it well tonight," said Pedroia. "Shoot, the one ball just hit off the tip of my glove. They found some holes. They were just a little better than us tonight."

Price doesn't want a pat on the back, or to be told it was just one bad inning.

"That's all it takes, one bad inning, one bad pitch," Price said. "At this level, that's enough to lose your team a ballgame. That was the case today. Those are always the tough ones."

The Yankees, Boston's top rival, have been a problem for Price this season. In three starts, he is 1-2 with a 7.79 ERA.

"They've always been a tough team against me. I don't think I've ever struck out 10 hitters against the Yankees in my career," Price said. "They put the bat on the ball early. They have a really good approach. I've faced these guys a lot of times. I need to make my adjustments."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.