Sanchez homers twice; Yanks pin Red Sox

Sanchez homers twice; Yanks pin Red Sox

NEW YORK -- Gary Sanchez cracked two homers off David Price, and Michael Pineda struck out eight over seven dominant innings as the Yankees defeated the Red Sox, 9-1, on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, taking two of three games in a showdown of American League East rivals.

The win was the Yankees' fourth in five meetings with the Red Sox this year, increasing their lead over second-place Boston to three games. Sanchez hit a three-run homer in the third inning and added a two-run drive in the fifth off Price, who came into the outing with controversy swirling.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Sanchez and other #ASGWorthy players

Following Wednesday's 8-0 Boston loss, Price had an outburst with a reporter that Red Sox manager John Farrell said would be "handled" after the left-hander took the mound. Price's mood wasn't likely to improve after he was thumped for six runs and eight hits in five innings.

• Farrell: Price's episode with reporter to be 'handled'

"I didn't have a very good changeup tonight," said Price. "It was kind of the opposite changeup I had in Baltimore. Felt good with my fastball on both sides of the plate. I just didn't make enough pitches whenever I needed to."

Price K's Judge

Sanchez now has four homers in seven career at-bats against Price, and the catcher said that he couldn't explain his success against the former Cy Young Award winner.

• Though not distracted, Price off vs. Yankees

"It's hard to say," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "When I face a pitcher, I try to make good contact. That's the approach. Keep it simple and make good contact. Against him, I've had really good results. I see it the same. I just had better results against him."

Statcast: Sanchez's two-HR game

Brett Gardner also drove in a run against Price, who has lost four straight starts at Yankee Stadium dating back to last season, having allowed 21 runs across 21 2/3 innings (8.72 ERA) in that span. Gardner later added his 13th homer, second on the team to Aaron Judge (18).

• Judge single is MLB's hardest-hit ball of season

"Big power bats," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Sanchez and Judge. "You make a mistake, they make you pay. Particularly, two right-handers who can use the other side of the field as well as they can in the short porch, they're dangerous here."

• Judge BP homer narrowly misses unsuspecting Stadium employee

A passed ball charged to Sanchez leading to an unearned run accounted for the only Boston run against Pineda, who threw 110 pitches as he improved to 6-1 with a 1.96 ERA in seven home starts this year. Pineda permitted just four hits while walking two.

Pineda's stellar start

"This is what you're working hard for every day, to have a good season and help the team," Pineda said. "Right now, every five days, I'm trying to help my team and win the game. Everything right now looks good so I'm happy with that."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
No running allowed: Mookie Betts started the game with an infield single and was quickly erased on a steal attempt by Sanchez, who came up firing with a 1.84-second pop time (85.8-mph arm strength), his second-best marks of the season in both categories. The play included a nice tag by shortstop Didi Gregorius, who was shaken up briefly but remained in the game.

Statcast: Sanchez nabs Betts

"Gary makes a great throw, and even a better play by Didi," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I think Didi got spiked in the chest a little bit."

Girardi on win over Red Sox

Let's try this again: Sanchez enjoyed a two-homer game on June 1 at Toronto and thought it could be a breakout moment, but he then fell into a 2-for-17 skid. Sanchez's first homer off Price traveled a projected 421 feet to left-center field, according to Statcast™, and came with Judge and Matt Holliday aboard, giving New York a 4-0 lead at the time. Thursday marked the fifth multi-homer game of Sanchez's career.

"It's a long season. I'll keep working hard and hopefully I'll be able to contribute more moving forward," Sanchez said.  More >

QUOTABLE
"No, it was not tough at all to focus today. This is baseball. Stuff happens. It happens to the best of the best. It happened to me tonight. I get to go home, see my family, see my kid, see my dogs, my mother-in-law -- I'll be ready in five days." -- Price, on whether his incident with a reporter on Wednesday affected him in Thursday's start

MLB Tonight on Price's comments

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Since joining the Red Sox, Price has allowed at least five earned runs in five of the six starts he's made against the Yankees. He is 1-4 with an 8.31 ERA since joining the rivalry.

WHAT'S NEXT
Red Sox: Left-hander Brian Johnson will be recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket for the third time this season to start Friday night's game at Fenway Park against the Tigers. Johnson is filling in for Eduardo Rodriguez, who is on the disabled list with a right knee subluxation. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET. The game will also mark second baseman Dustin Pedroia's return from the disabled list.

Yankees: Left-hander Jordan Montgomery will have the ball on Friday as the Yankees open a three-game series with the Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Montgomery is coming off the first scoreless outing of his career, having hurled six innings of three-hit ball in a 7-0 win at Toronto on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. ET.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

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.