It was a game that gave new meaning to the chant “Who’s your daddy?” — an oldie but goodie in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.
First it was the Yankees acting like the Red Sox’s “daddy” (as then-Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez famously put it in 2004), completing a four-game sweep with a 7-4 victory Sunday night at Yankee Stadium.
And starting pitchers J.A. Happ and David Price both were coming off paternity leave after their wives gave birth to daughters on Thursday. Happ easily won that duel.
It was the eighth straight loss for Boston, which fell 14½ games behind the AL East-leading Yankees (16 in the loss column). The Yankees (72-39), who have won five straight and are a season-high 33 games over .500, did it with a lineup featuring Cameron Maybin, Mike Ford, Kyle Higashioka and Mike Tauchman.
And it all came on a day when the Yankees’ season-long injury problems continued apace, with a potentially dire new turn.
Before the game, Aaron Hicks landed on the injured list with a flexor strain in his right elbow. Then Gleyber Torres departed after seven innings with what manager Aaron Boone called a “core issue” that sent him to the hospital for tests. Boone said he was unsure of what caused the injury or how serious it might be.
Both starting pitchers presumably were a bit sleep-deprived, but Happ got the better of the daddy duel. He allowed four runs in 5 2⁄3 innings and the Yankees roughed up Price in his latest awful Bronx outing.
Price gave up a long home run to Aaron Judge in the first, then fell apart in the third.
With two outs and a man on first, Gio Urshela hit a two-run home run, the first of six straight hits — four of them for extra bases — followed by a walk. By the time Alex Cora mercifully removed Price after 2 2⁄3 innings, the score was 7-0. (Urshela later took foul balls off both legs in the same at-bat and left after eight innings.)
Early in the game, fans taunted Price with a “Who’s your daddy?” chant, naturally. Since joining the Red Sox in 2016, he is 1-7 with a 9.61 ERA in eight starts at Yankee Stadium.
Happ breezed through his first four innings, then allowed back-to-back homers by Christian Vazquez and Michael Chavis in the fifth. After getting the first two outs in the sixth, he gave up a two-run single by Andrew Benintendi that made it 7-4.
That was enough for Boone. He yanked Happ in favor of Luis Cessa, who combined with Chad Green to pitch 3 1⁄3 hitless, scoreless innings.
Boone and Happ both had positive things to say about his outing when it was over despite another up-and-down day in Happ’s wildly uneven season.
Happ said that after the game he addressed his teammates with a message about “putting blinders on” in the face of potential distractions such as the recent trade deadline and the relentless injury woes.
“We feel for them and we want all our guys to come back, but I think we know we need to plug in,” Happ said.
Boone said of the injuries, “It’s also been something that’s been a real rallying cry for us. I think it’s not just brought a level of physical toughness to the room but it’s forced guys to be mentally tough as well.”
The start of the game was delayed by 69 minutes because of passing clouds and five minutes of light rain, and it was well after midnight by the time the Yankees headed to Baltimore for the start of a road trip that also will take them to Toronto.
Somehow, through it all, they just keep winning. It was their first four-game sweep of the Red Sox since August 2009.
“That’s what we’re supposed to do, being a first-place team,” Judge said of the sweep. “We just went out there and took care of business.”