The Boston Red Sox stand just two victories away from their ninth World Series title in franchise history following a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.
It was another chilly evening at Fenway Park, and David Price, who was making his first appearance in a World Series since 2008, picked up right where he left off in Game Five of the ALCS with another stellar performance.
Tossing six complete innings in this one, the left-hander only surrendered two earned runs on three hits and three walks to go along with five punch outs in his fourth start of this postseason.
Both of those runs given up by Price came in the fourth inning after the Tennessee native seemingly breezed through the first three frames.
There, the Dodgers loaded the bases without recording an out to lead things off, and a sacrifice fly from Matt Kemp, followed by a two out single from Yasiel Puig, put Los Angeles ahead 2-1 at the time.
Despite that rough patch, Price rebounded by retiring the seven final hitters he faced to send this game into the middle of the seventh and pick up the eventual winning decision. He got some help along the way from Andrew Benintendi as well.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 88 (58 strikes), the 33-year-old, with Christian Vazquez behind the plate, threw 33 four-seam fastballs, 25 changeups, 23 two-seam fastballs, and seven changeups. He also topped out at 94.6 MPH with that two-seamer in the fourth inning.
With the Red Sox now unbeaten in Price’s last three October starts, I wouldn’t expect to see the southpaw start in another game of this Fall Classic until it comes back to Fenway Park, if that is even necessary.
In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final three innings of Wednesday night’s contest, and once again, were extremely effective.
Joe Kelly got the first call for his second appearance of this series, and he fanned two of the three batters he faced while hovering around 100 MPH on the radar gun in a scoreless seventh.
Speaking of high velocity, Nathan Eovaldi came on for his second outing in as many days to work the top of the eighth, and he too topped out at 100.3 MPH with his fastball in a 1-2-3 inning.
Finally, in the ninth, Craig Kimbrel looked to lock up his first career World Series save, and he needed just nine pitches to do that and secure a 2-0 lead for his team as they head out west.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another Dodgers left-handed starter in the form of South Korea native Hyun-Jin Ryu, who entered Wednesday with a 4.40 ERA in three postseason starts this October.
With the majority of this lineup outside of the veterans like Ian Kinsler, JD Martinez, and Steve Pearce having never faced Ryu before, it took some time for the bats to get going.
That happened in the bottom of the third, when Kinsler got the scoring for his team started by ripping a two out RBI double to drive in Xander Bogaerts, who had previously doubled, from second. 1-0.
Fast forward to the bottom of the fifth, with Boston trailing by a run, and it ended up being Andrew Benintendi who would chase Ryu from this game by drawing a two out walk to load the bases for Steve Pearce.
Following a pitching change that saw Ryan Madson take over things with runners on for the second consecutive night, Pearce exhibited some patience and drove in what was the tying run at the time by drawing yet another walk. 2-2.
Just a few moments after that, JD Martinez put an exclamation point on this game by promptly unloading the bases and driving in Mookie Betts and Benintendi in from scoring position on a line drive two RBI double to right field.
Since Yasiel Puig was playing so deep in that situation, the ball easily landed in front of him, which allowed both runners to score. Had Puig been playing in more close, who knows how that goes.
Regardless of that, Martinez’s 12th and 13th RBI of this postseason would be all the Red Sox would need to pick up a Game Two win.
Some notes from this 4-2 win:
The Red Sox are 9-0 this postseason when they score first.
Mookie Betts collected three hits on Wednesday night.
In his last two postseason starts, David Price is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA over 12 innings pitched.
Heading out to California with two games at hand, it will be Rick Porcello getting the starting nod for the Red Sox in Game Three after an off day.
In two prior starts at Dodger Stadium, Porcello is 1-0 with a 5.91 ERA and 1.97 WHIP over 10.2 innings of work.
Opposite Porcello will be Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler, who’ll bring in a career 5.40 postseason ERA into his first ever World Series start.
The Red Sox are winners of five in a row. How many more wins do they need to clinch this World Series?
First pitch of Game Three of the World Series is scheduled for 8:09 PM ET Friday on FOX.