After the Yankees had what Aaron Boone described as a "terrible weekend" in Detroit, the fourth-year manager said there wasn’t much time to dwell on it.
Not with the AL East-leading Rays set to come to town for four games, followed by the second-place Red Sox.
"As [ticked] off as I am, and as we should be by the way we played, it's a bad weekend. We need to turn the page," Boone said. "We have an important homestand coming up against some really good opponents."
But the Yankees, especially on offense, have very much appeared stuck on the same page this week.
After scratching out just enough offense to split four games against the Rays, the Yankees dropped the first of three games to the Red Sox, 5-2, on Friday night in front of a sellout crowd of 18,040 at the Stadium that booed the home team off the field after the final out.
The Yankees (31-27) struck out 15 times — four by Gary Sanchez — and hit into two key double plays. After a 22-8 run that lifted them to 28-19, they have lost eight of their last 11.
"Strikeouts are part of this, and we have to continue to work hard, especially in those situations when we have some traffic,'' Boone said. "I thought a lot of good at-bats . . . So we just have to keep building off some of the small successes we're having and hopefully break through here."
The Yankees went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded six, making them 6-for-59 with RISP and 61 stranded in their last eight games. The last four hitters in the lineup went 0-for-15 with 10 strikeouts. The Yankees have scored two or fewer runs 23 times this season, going 6-17.
"We’re all frustrated,'' DJ LeMahieu said. "We’re not helping out our pitchers like we know we can. It’s not one guy. It’s all of us."
Nathan Eovaldi, who went 23-11 with a 4.45 ERA as a Yankee in 2015-16, was the most recent pitcher the Yankees made look far better than the numbers he brought into a game against them. The 31-year-old righthander, who entered 6-2 with a 4.01 ERA, allowed two runs (one earned) and eight hits in six innings in which he struck out seven.
"He's always capable of being tough,'' Boone said. "Obviously, a hard thrower with a cutter, split and curveball. I actually thought we had a lot of good at-bats from especially the top half of the order and got ourselves into some situations where we had a chance to score [but] just couldn't get that big one tonight. He was able to hold us off enough there, but when you're not hitting a ton of long balls, you’ve got to be able to cash in when you get those opportunities."
Michael King became the most recent Yankees pitcher victimized by little run support. King allowed four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings, giving up a three-run homer by Rafael Devers on an 0-and-2 pitch with two outs in the first inning to put the Yankees in an immediate hole.
"I still have all the confidence in the world in this lineup to come back from any deficit,'' King said. "But it's not fun to be on the mound, giving up three without getting out of the first inning. So I just got to be better [in my] execution and settle in quicker next time."
King departed with one on and one out in the sixth. Lucas Luetge allowed the inherited runner to score on a two-out, two-run double by Marwin Gonzalez that gave the Red Sox a 5-0 lead.
After King put the Yankees behind 3-0 in the top of the first, LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton started the bottom half with back-to-back singles. But Aaron Judge, who later hit his team-best 14th homer, grounded a 2-and-2 cutter into 4-6-3 double play.
King turned in an immaculate inning in the fourth, striking out the Red Sox (34-23) on nine pitches. According to YES, it was the seventh immaculate inning in franchise history and the first since Dellin Betances did it against the Tigers on Aug. 2, 2017.
"I guess it’s cool, but I’d rather win a game than throw an immaculate inning," King said.
King’s fifth inning was nearly as impressive as the fourth — and maybe more so — as he needed only four pitches to retire the Red Sox in order, but he did not get out of the sixth.
After Martinez popped out to start the inning, Xander Bogaerts singled to left and Boone brought in Luetge to face Devers. Luetge retired him on a fly to center but Gonzalez yanked a first-pitch cutter down the leftfield line for a two-run double. For Luetge, it snapped a streak of 14 straight appearances without allowing a run.
LeMahieu led off the sixth with a single but was erased when Stanton grounded into the Yankees' 54th ground-ball double play of the season. But Judge poked a 97-mph fastball into the rightfield seats to make it 5-1, Gio Urshela and Gleyber Torres followed with singles and suddenly, with Roughned Odor up, the crowd was stirring as much as it had all night.
When Odor rolled over a 1-and-1 splitter and grounded it to first, Gonzalez booted the ball, then made a wild throw to Eovaldi covering that hit the Yankees’ dugout and allowed Judge to score to make it 5-2.
Michael King became the seventh Yankees pitcher to throw an "immaculate inning" when he struck out the side on nine pitches in the fourth Friday night. The complete list:
Al Downing 1967 at Cleve.
Ron Guidry 1984 at CWS
AJ Burnett 2009 at Florida
Ivan Nova 2013 vs. Mets
Brandon McCarthy 2014 at TB
Dellin Betances 2017 vs Det.
Michael King 2021 vs Boston