BOSTON (USA TODAY) -- Red Sox starter David Price opened Game 2 of the ALDS at Fenway Park with a chance to shake his reputation for poor postseason performances and prove himself capable of beating a Yankees team that torched him to the tune of a 10.34 ERA over four starts in the regular season.
He did neither. Aaron Judge got the scoring started for the New York Yankees with a solo home run in the first inning. Gary Sanchez added another solo shot in the second before two walks and an Andrew McCutchen single chased Price from the game. The left-hander, in the third year of a seven-year, $217 million deal with Boston, yielded three earned runs in only 1 ⅔ innings. The game marked the shortest postseason start of Price’s career and only the third time in his 10-year tenure in the Majors that he has started a game and thrown less than two innings.
Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka suffered no such indignities. With his trademark splitter appearing sharper than it did in a couple of rough late-season starts, Tanaka cruised through five innings and earned the win in the Yanks’ 6-2 victory, allowing a run on a Xander Bogaerts homer in the fourth but nothing more.
After a shaky performance Friday, the Red Sox’ bullpen kept Boston in the game through the middle innings Saturday. Joe Kelly relieved Price and threw 2 ⅓ scoreless innings. Ryan Brasier rebounded from a bout of Game 1 wildness to strike out the side in the fifth.
But Sanchez’s second homer of the night -- a three-run shot off Eduardo Rodriguez in the seventh -- provided breathing room to a Yankees bullpen that hardly needed any.
Like in Friday night’s contest, there would be no lead changes after a first-inning homer. This time it was Judge’s convincing blast to deep left-center that did it. The slugger became only the third player in MLB history to homer in three straight games to begin a postseason, and now has seven homers in only 16 career postseason games.
Man of the moment
Sanchez endured a disappointing season, missing most of July and August with a groin injury, struggling at the plate for most of the year, and exhibiting such egregious defensive lapses that some expected the Yankees would use backup Austin Romine as their primary catcher for the postseason. His homers Saturday served as a reminder of what he can do when he’s healthy.
State of the Yankees
After a day off Sunday, the Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound for Game 3 of the ALDS in the Bronx on Monday. Last seen throwing four scoreless innings in the AL Wild Card Game on Wednesday, Severino went 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA in the regular season but struggled for long stretches of the second half. Splitting the first Fenway leg of the series essentially gives the Yankees home-field advantage for its remainder and a chance to clinch an ALCS berth on their home turf if they win Games 3 and 4.
State of the Red Sox
Despite appearing in relief on Friday, Rick Porcello will likely start Game 3 for Boston on Monday. The former AL Cy Young Award winner went 17-7 with a 4.28 ERA in the regular season. If Porcello is not yet ready, former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi will take the ball Monday and push Porcello back to Game 4 on Tuesday.