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Paxton: Sox 'were really swinging it tonight'

Yankees have permitted 64 runs in their last six games
@BryanHoch
July 27, 2019

BOSTON -- The first inning has been a mystery for James Paxton, so the left-hander is beginning his warm-ups earlier, attempting to trick his body into producing sharper pitches. It's an interesting concept, but nothing the Yankees attempted on Friday was going to fool Mookie Betts. The reigning American League

BOSTON -- The first inning has been a mystery for James Paxton, so the left-hander is beginning his warm-ups earlier, attempting to trick his body into producing sharper pitches. It's an interesting concept, but nothing the Yankees attempted on Friday was going to fool Mookie Betts.

The reigning American League MVP homered in his first three at-bats against Paxton, who was hammered for seven runs over four innings as the Yankees' run of subpar starting pitching extended into a sixth consecutive game, a 10-5 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Box score

"I went out there and gave it everything I had," Paxton said. "I wanted to be able to give some length tonight. Unfortunately, I didn't do that. Hopefully we can get this thing turned around starting tomorrow."

As ugly as the recent skid has been -- the Yanks have permitted 64 runs in their last six games, dropping four of those contests -- they continue to hold a sizable advantage in the American League East. There will be no burying of the Red Sox, at least not this weekend, but the Yankees still pace the division by 8 1/2 games (9 ahead of Boston) and 10 in the loss column.

"It's obviously been a rough week for us," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "All we can do is dive in and best we can try to tighten things up, get things corrected and make sure we're doing all we can to go out and execute. Because we do know we're capable."

General manager Brian Cashman continues to send up flares in search of pitching assistance, saying before Friday's game that he remains in pursuit of both starters and relievers. While Cashman calls and texts the competition, the task of righting the ship will fall upon CC Sabathia's broad shoulders on Saturday afternoon.

Sabathia has long been regarded as the Yanks' stopper, but this slide is unlike any that the veteran has witnessed in his 19 seasons; New York starters have gone 0-4 with a 17.86 ERA over their last six starts, permitting 43 earned runs in 21 2/3 innings.

"That's baseball," Sabathia said. "That's the ups and downs of the big leagues. We just want to play well. We want to win the division, and keep playing good baseball."

Betts finished the evening with four hits and five RBIs, recording a career-high 14 total bases, while J.D. Martinez also homered and drove in three runs. Betts is the fourth Red Sox player to hit three homers against the Yankees, joining Mo Vaughn (1997), Kevin Millar (2004) and Steve Pearce (2018).

"You're not really thinking," Betts said. "That's the main thing, you kind of turn your brain off and just play. That's when everybody is at their best."

Paxton's first-inning ERA ballooned to an even 11.00 as he placed the Yankees down early, on his way to compiling a bizarre line that generates only one historical comparison.

Paxton is the second Major Leaguer to allow seven or more earned runs in four or fewer innings while striking out at least nine batters without a walk. The other was the Mets' Noah Syndergaard, who struck out 10 Padres over four innings of seven-run ball on June 6, 2015.

"Stuff-wise, I thought he was electric," Boone said of Paxton. "You saw him go in and out of dominance. I mean, nine strikeouts, no walks. The cutter was really good tonight in a lot of spots. The fastball was really good in a lot of spots. But then there were a number of mistakes they were all over."

Paxton has allowed seven runs in consecutive starts for the first time in his career, having permitted seven (four earned) to the Rockies on July 21.

"I thought I threw the ball pretty well, but they didn't miss pitches I made mistakes on," Paxton said of the Red Sox. "They were really swinging it tonight."

Luke Voit and Austin Romine drove in runs against Andrew Cashner, who held New York to three runs and 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings. Romine and Didi Gregorius added ninth-inning RBIs that made the score slightly more respectable.

"I think it helps when you get an early lead," said Cameron Maybin, who went 1-for-3 with a run scored and a walk in his return from the injured list. "You've got to tip your hat to their offense, and tip your hat to [Cashner] for not wasting too many pitches tonight."

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