BOSTON — Austin Romine singled sharply in his first at-bat against David Price and hit a two-run double off the Boston lefthander in his second.
All of which meant nothing to the backup catcher, still angry at himself for a job poorly done, in his opinion, behind the plate in the seventh inning.
With the score tied at 5, two outs and runners at second and third, Adam Warren threw a 1-and-1 curveball down and in that skipped in front of the plate and skipped away from Romine up the first-base line. Mookie Betts scored to make it 6-5, and when Romine retrieved the ball, briefly turned his back to the plate and appeared to put his head down in disappointment, Hanley Ramirez tried to score from second. Romine, who said he saw Ramirez all the way, hustled back to the plate, dropped his left knee to the ground to block the sliding Ramirez and tagged him out. (Even with the new rules, when a catcher is in possession of the ball, he is allowed to block the plate and the runner is allowed to hit him.)
“Didn’t do my job, plain and simple,” Romine said. “I let the go-ahead run in on a ball that I kept in front but bounced away. I was [ticked].’’
Romine singled and scored on Brett Gardner’s triple in the third inning, then hit a towering two-run double that scraped the top of the Green Monster in the fourth to give the Yankees a 5-2 lead. But Romine didn’t want to hear about silver linings in his day. To him, the wild pitch overshadowed his offensive production.
“It completely trumps it,” Romine said. “I’m not here to hit. I can hit, I like to hit, but I’m here to catch, I’m here to block balls. I didn’t do my job.”
Butler at first
Billy Butler, who signed with the Yankees on Friday and was 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs in his first two games, started at first base Saturday and went 1-for-3. “Trying to get as much offense as we can,” said Joe Girardi, who replaced Butler with Mark Teixeira for defensive purposes in the fifth.
Neither Butler nor Teixeira had great career numbers against Price — Butler was 3-for-13 and Teixeira was 15-for-70 with three homers — but Girardi said the latter wasn’t an option Saturday because he played Friday night.
“Tex, it’s been hard to play him day games after night games, it’s just been hard to do,” Girardi said. “He played Tuesday, his neck locked up Wednesday and Thursday, [so I] couldn’t play him. And I’m trying to keep [Gary] Sanchez’s bat in the lineup. He’s been our best hitter, so trying to be somewhat creative.”
Praise from the other dugout
Asked Saturday morning what has stood out about the Yankees since they committed to a youth movement in early August, Red Sox manager John Farrell had an answer at the ready. “They’ve got one hell of a catcher,” he said of Sanchez.
Farrell, a former big-league pitcher, cited the rookie’s bat and his defensive work, which he said has been better than expected. “He’s a front-line player,” Farrell said.
Sanchez gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead in the third with a titanic two-run blast, his 15th home run in 40 games. The shot to leftfield Price left Fenway Park and landed on Lansdowne Street. Sanchez became one of five hitters since 1913 with as many as 15 homers through 42 games, joining Wally Berger (17), Kevin Maas (15), Wally Joyner (15) and Jose Abreu (15).
The Yankees lost for the sixth time in 61 games when leading after six innings . . . Gardner’s triple was the 50th of his career, third-most among Yankees since 2000 behind Derek Jeter (66) and Bernie Williams (55) . . . Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez went 3-for-4 with a double, making him 6-for-12 with two homers and five RBIs in the series.