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Red Sox’ Kutter Crawford wanted ‘more;’ Why’d Alex Cora remove him after 7?



Red Sox’ Kutter Crawford wanted ‘more;’ Why’d Alex Cora remove him after 7?

NEW YORK — Starter Kutter Crawford threw only 40 pitches through his first five innings and 68 pitches in 7 scoreless innings.

So why didn’t manager Alex Cora send him back out for the eighth inning with the Red Sox ahead 2-0?

“Obviously efficient but I felt that was good enough,” Cora said. “The last two innings he had to grind with it. And we were lined up with Slaten and Kenley.”

Justin Slaten pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Kenley Jansen recorded the save with a perfect ninth. The Red Sox won 3-0 over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.

“Imagine if I sent him in the eighth and somebody (gets) on and you bring the reliever,” Cora said. “I’d rather give the reliever a clean inning.”

Crawford — who allowed four hits and no walks while striking out four in his 7 scoreless frames — unsurprisingly wanted to keep pitching. Does he understand where Cora was coming from?

“A little. A little. But I wanted more, yeah,” Crawford said.

He threw the fewest pitches by a pitcher through the first five innings since May 30, 2017, when Ivan Nova threw 38 pitches, according to’s Sarah Langs.

“He pounded the strike zone,” Cora said. “It was amazing. With good stuff, too. At one point I look up and it was like six balls. And he kept attacking a good lineup.”

Of his 40 pitches through five innings, 34 landed for strikes.

“I think that’s probably the most efficient I’ve ever been,” Crawford said. “I think a year or two (ago) I had probably thrown 30 or 40 pitches in one inning. But it feels good to throw a bunch of strikes and get a lot of early outs like that.”

Crawford escaped a 14-pitch, two-hit sixth inning without allowing a run after giving up a leadoff single to Oswaldo Cabrera. Trent Grisham lined out to second baseman David Hamilton who doubled Cabrera off first base. Crawford then struck out Ben Rice (who homered three times Saturday) swinging after DJ LeMahieu had doubled.

Juan Soto led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a double. But Crawford struck out Aaron Judge swinging on an 83.2 mph sweeper. He then retired Alex Verdugo on a groundout to second base and Anthony Volpe on a lineout (97.1 mph off the bat) to left field, keeping the Red Sox ahead 1-0.

“The last inning, a leadoff double, and then to face those three guys, especially Judge, just really good,” Cora said.

It matched Crawford’s longest career start. He also threw 7 innings in a 2-1 win over the Giants at home May 1. He ended up throwing 79% strikes.

“Just trying to pound the zone. Just trying to get strike one,” Crawford said.

Crawford said he thinks repeatedly throwing first-pitch strikes made Yankees hitters more aggressive but they mostly made weak contact.

“I felt I had a good feel of every pitch,” Crawford said. “Cutters away, cutters in. Splits over the plate. … It’s one of those outings where you feel like everything is kind of working for you.”

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