NEW YORK — The night after CC Sabathia lost his lid when Eduardo Nunez bunted, Nunez hit a home run. Meanwhile, Red Sox starter Doug Fister didn’t blink an eye when the Yankees bunted on him.
Score one for logic and score another for the return of Fister, who has gone at least seven innings and allowed two runs or fewer in three consecutive starts for the first time since 2014. That was a year when Fister was consistently excellent, and he looks to have regained that form — or be on the way to it.
That’s the idea, the righty said after a 4-1 Sox win over the Yankees on Friday night
“Yeah, you know I feel very healthy and I think that’s a big key,” Fister said. “But trying to re-enact what I used to do, and that’s part of the process that I’ve been making the changes and trying to emulate what I used to do and trying to be able to continue that.”
Fister went seven innings and has a 1.57 ERA in his last four starts. Switching sides on the rubber is one part of a project the Red Sox undertook to revitalize Fister, and it’s worked.
“He's been great,” Dustin Pedroia said after his first game back from a knee injury. “He's pounding the zone. His ball is sinking a lot, getting a lot of ground balls. He's keeping us on our toes. He pitched great.”
Fister and the Sox could have been ticked off in the seventh inning with two out, when Chase Headley dropped down a bunt single. Fister had been rolling, without a hit allowed since the second batter of the game, an Aaron Judge RBI-double.
Considering how angry Nunez’s attempt to bunt made Sabathia a night earlier, things could have escalated at that point. Fister, like Nunez, was levelheaded.
“You know what, they’re in a ball game,” Fister said. “It’s something that he trying to get on, trying to stir something up and that’s a great way to do it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t field that. He put it in a good spot."
Nunez's revenge was a low line drive to left field for a third-inning homer, off Yankees righty Sonny Gray. Nunez reiterated before the game that he has to bunt because power isn't his game. But with the Red Sox, he already has eight home runs — double the number he had with the Giants.
“I’m not looking for power," Nunez said. "I just put a swing on the ball, and the balls carry. I don’t want to change my game. I know I don’t have that big power like Aaron Judge. I just have to put a good swing on the ball.”
He doesn't have that big power, but Nunez did recently discuss efforts to add more power. The home runs started to come last year.