MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

The Yankees’ Aaron Hicks is tagged out by Red Sox pitcher David Price after a rundown to end the fourth inning on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium.

THE RED SOX salvaged the final game in the Bronx with Sunday night’s 8-5 victory over the Yankees.

Now, before you start feeling all warm and fuzzy about the win during the ills of the defending champs, you should take it for what it was — one win, the first in five games at Yankee Stadium this season.

That said, we ask you to consider the alternative.

A loss Sunday night may well have represented the end of any meaningful chance of winning the division and would have further damaged wild card chances. Yes, on June 2. As it is, there’s all kinds of ground that has to be made up against the Yankees, but winning this game at least has to quiet things a third into the season.

At least the Red Sox head into Kansas City a game OVER .500 and not a game under. And David Price even managed to win a game at Yankee Stadium.

“We won today but know we need to keep improving,” said Alex Cora, who has actually (if you can believe it) come under fire from the “baseball minds” on social media.

Saturday night, after losing Game 2 of what became a three-game series, Rick Porcello said, “Yeah, we’re not closing the gap. We’re making it bigger. It’s tough. We were in a tough spot coming in, we’re in an even worse spot now and we’ve got to be ready to fight every night. That’s the bottom line. Everybody. All cylinders, 25 guys got to be ready to win ballgames each and every night and we don’t have a whole lot of room to wait around at this point. We’ve got to go.”

In other words, it’s time. Time for the highest payroll in the game to avoid being talked about in a wild card race with the Texas Rangers.

“We needed today,” said Price Sunday night. “We needed to come out and beat those guys the way that we did. That was big for us.”

He had been 0-6 with a 9.79 ERA as a Soxer at Yankee Stadium before Sunday, saying after the game, “It feels good. To pitch well in a place I haven’t pitched well in a while, against a team that’s given me problems, it feels good.”

Puzzling comments

The weekend produced at least three strange comments from folks in and around the Red Sox.

First, we give you Xander Bogaerts, after Saturday night’s loss.

“I don’t think we’re in September. June just opened. So got a lot of baseball left,” he said. “Obviously we’ve got some key guys hurt hitting-wise. Hopefully we get ‘em back soon and I think everybody will start getting into a groove and try to go from there. But it has to be one game at a time. You can’t try to win five games in one game. You gotta take it easy.”

OK, we agree on it being the start of June. And we all know you can’t win five games at once. But key guys hurting? Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce? And Nathan Eovaldi? Compare that to the team you’re chasing?

Next, we give you Cora, who made what was likely an off-hand comment on how much his family knows and cares about the game (and we’re not talking about his brother, Joey).

“I have a mom that’s very passionate about the game. Two sisters that they know more than a lot of people that cover the game.”

Count MassLive’s Chris Smith, one of the best young guys in the business, among those who probably took this too literally — and personally.

Tweeted Smith: “Are Alex Cora’s sisters as knowledgeable about the CBT, CBT penalties, CBA details, analytics (such as which spots in lineup produce most RBIs), draft, top prospects, international free agency than a lot of reporters? Maybe. But Cora should take all this into account.”

Relax

The other thing comes from Alex Rodriguez. It’s tough enough listening to his babbling on Sunday nights. It’s even tougher when he’s just flat wrong.

Sunday night, after the Yankees turned 8-2 into 8-5, A-Rod decided that the Yankees had forced Cora into having to use his closer because the game was now a game.

His closer? What closer? This team does not HAVE a closer. Brandon Workman pitched the ninth and got the save, but was A-Rod talking about Craig Kimbrel? Koji Uehara? Jonathan Papelbon? Dick Radatz?

Take a little less time posing for pictures with J-Lo and do some homework.

Pats are back

The Patriots are back on the field for their mandatory (except for Tom Brady) OTAs this week, a week that will be capped by a ring ceremony at Robert Kraft’s home on Thursday night.

But before it started Monday, Rob Gronkowski threw some cold water on the hopes he will return at some time down the road, this season or next.

“Oh man! Whatever I say, it doesn’t matter. It will always be crazy out there, but you can put them to rest,” Gronkowski said at Gillette over the weekend. “I’m feeling good. (In a) good place. It’s great to be back here.”

Just like it’s only early June in baseball, the same can be said for Gronkowski, who recently turned 30. Right now, as his body heals, not playing sounds great. Let’s see what happens when the regular season begins.

Right now, we think the big fella means it. Stay tuned.

From Glen Farley of the Brockton Enterprise Monday: “With (Chase) Winovich coming to terms, running back Damien Harris, who was also selected by the Patriots in the third round in April, is their only unsigned draft pick.”

More Farley, one of the best on the Pats beat: “Lawyer Milloy’s daughter Amirah plays softball for the University of Washington. Wears No. 36. Of course.”

And so on

An interesting stat emerged from New York Sunday night. Bogaerts had a homer and double both Saturday and Sunday, allowing him to join Jackie Jensen (1957) and Gary Geiger (1963) as the only Soxers to do that against the Yankees in the Bronx.

Finally, the baseball draft, which opened Monday, started in 1965. Rick Monday was the first pick, to the Kansas City A’s. The Red Sox, selecting fifth, tabbed Billy Conigliaro.

The following year, the Mets, picking first, went for catcher Steve Chilcott, passing over an outfielder by the name of Reginald Martinez Jackson.

Chilcott severely injured his right shoulder in 1967 and was out of baseball by age 24, never playing a game in the major leagues.

Whatever happened to that Jackson kid?

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Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is shalinmike@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.