BOSTON — David Price didn’t downplay his accomplishment last Thursday in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, when he finally earned his first postseason victory as a starter.
“Definitely a weight lifted off of me for sure,” Price said before the start of the World Series. “It was time. And I'm definitely glad that the time came and we moved past it. And I look forward to doing the same thing tomorrow.”
The lefthander did just that, winning a second straight October start, this time with the spotlight the brightest. Price, making his first World Series start, threw six good innings in leading the Red Sox to a 4-2 victory over the Dodgers in Game 2 in front of 38,644 at Fenway Park.
“It's huge, this is the biggest stage in baseball,” said Price, who allowed two runs and three hits over six innings. “There's no other stage that's going to be bigger than pitching in a World Series game, unless it's Game 7 of the World Series. I'm pumped for myself, pumped for all my teammates and coaches for us to be two wins away.”
The Red Sox, whose pitching limited the Dodgers to those three hits, took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series that after a day off Thursday resumes at Dodger Stadium Friday night. They are 5-0 on the road this postseason, winning twice at Yankee Stadium in the Division Series, then three times in Houston in the ALCS.
The last 10 teams to jump to a 2-0 lead in the Series have won the title and that’s been the case 43 of 54 times overall a team has won the first two.
“We took care of what we wanted to so far, win at home,” first baseman Steve Pearce said. “It’s good momentum going on the road but they’re still a tough team. We ain’t done yet.”
The Red Sox, who improved to 9-0 these playoffs when scoring first, took the lead for good in a three-run fifth inning that was capped by J.D. Martinez’s two-out, two-run single of Ryan Madson that made it 4-2.
Price, who allowed both runs and all three hits in the fourth inning and retired the last seven batters he faced, struck out five and walked three.
“He’s the guy you want with the ball in his hands in these situations, regardless of past performances,” said Ian Kinsler, a teammate of Price’s in Detroit in 2014 and ’15 and whose RBI single in the second made it 1-0. “It gets talked about because the postseason is definitely magnified. But he’s the guy we want with the ball in his hand. Facing him, I didn’t want to face him, and playing on his team I want him to have the ball.”
Boston got more standout work from its bullpen as Joe Kelly and Nathan Eovaldi pitched scoreless innings, handing things off to Craig Kimbrel. The closer pitched a perfect ninth for the save.
“We've got to find a way to win a baseball game,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, whose move to Madson backfired a second straight night. “Obviously we come out of here going home down 2-0. But they made pitches when they needed to. And when we stressed them, they made the pitch. And then when it flipped, they got the hit, and we didn't.”
Dodgers lefthander Hyun-Jin Ryu was coming off a disastrous Game 6 start in the NLCS against the Brewers, when he allowed five runs and seven hits over three innings. He wasn't much better against the Red Sox, giving up four runs and six hits over 4 2/3 innings. He also received no help from his bullpen, primarily Madson, who allowed three inherited runners to score after allowing two inherited runners to come in the night before in an 8-4 loss in Game 1.
The Dodgers took their first lead of the Series in the fourth on a Matt Kemp sacrifice fly and a Yasiel Puig RBI single that made it 2-1. After Puig's hit, the Dodgers' last 16 batters went down in order.
“I mean, 108 wins in the regular season, beating the Yankees in the ALDS, and beating the reigning champs in the ALCS and being up 2-0, this is part of the reason I came here, absolutely,” said Price, who signed a seven-year, $217-million deal with the Red Sox in December 2015. “For us to do it three times [win the AL East] and be where we are right now, that's absolutely the reason why I came here.”