Andrew Cashner got himself a dose of adulation he probably wasn't all that use to.
Walking off the Fenway Park field with two outs in the seventh inning Friday night, the Red Sox starter was showered with a standing ovation was an appreciate group of fans. They were celebrating the much-needed performance against the Yankees which ended up keying in a 10-5 win for the hosts over New York. He had allowed three runs over his 6 2/3 inning, holding the American League East leaders at bay while the Sox' offense was torching Yanks starter James Paxton. (For a complete recap, click here.)
Just before entering the Red Sox dugout Cashner took the time to bring his right hand up to the bill of his hat, simulating a tip of the chapeau to those standing and cheering. Then, when talking to the media after the win, the big righty offered the ultimate sign of appreciation to his new followers.
"I don't know," Cashner said when asked why he enjoyed pitching against the Yankees so much. "Everybody grows up hating the Yankees, right?"
It marked the third straight time Cashner has gone up against the Yankees and held his own, having turned in six-inning outings in which he didn't give up more than three runs during his previous two starts vs. New York while pitching for the Orioles.
This time he also seemed more at home with batterymate Christian Vazquez, which didn't hurt.
In his first start with the Red Sox, for instance, Cashner threw almost 50 percent changeups. This time around it was thrown just about 32 percent of the time, with a mid-90's fastball and wipeout slider proving effective against the Yanks.
"He threw the ball well against Baltimore. It was just one pitch, the changeup. He had good fastball command. The slider was good, changeup was good too. He’s been around," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "The velocity was up. He was excited about this one. For him to go to seven. We’ve been saying, now we have Eduardo tomorrow. These guys have done it before. It took a while but it feels like we’re finding that groove now, pitch-wise. That’s a great offensive team and he had them off-balance. Some good at-bats but he made pitches, too. Quick inning right away after we scored. Shutdown innings. It was a great game for Cash.
"Where we’re at right now, really doesn't matter. Yankees, Orioles, Jays, we have to pitch well. That’s where we’re at right now. For him to perform out there, the ovation, that was cool to see."