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David Price pitches Red Sox past Dodgers 4-2 in Game 2 of World Series

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Once again, Red Sox starter David Price pitched well in a postseason start. Before his start against the Astros in Game 5 of the ALCS, Price owned a career 5.42 ERA in 79 2/3 playoff innings. He blanked the Astros over six innings with nine strikeouts, helping lead the Red Sox into the World Series.

Price wasn’t quite as sharp as he was last Thursday, but he put together another quality outing on Wednesday night in Game 2 of the World Series. The lefty yielded a pair of runs on three hits and three walks with five strikeouts over five innings, tossing 88 pitches in the process. His career postseason ERA is finally under 5.00, at 4.91.

The Red Sox, as has often been the case in the playoffs this year, struck first on offense. Ian Kinsler ripped a line drive to left field with two outs to bring home Xander Bogaerts against Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers, who have been miserable with runners in scoring position this postseason, were able to put something together in the fourth. David Freese led off with a single against Price and Manny Machado followed up with one of his own. Price then walked Chris Taylor to load the bases. Matt Kemp lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to bring home Freese, then Enrique Hernández struck out, making it seem as if Price might escape the inning allowing just the one run. Yasiel Puig, however, gave the Dodgers their first lead of the World Series, dunking a single into right field. Price got out of the jam finally by striking out Austin Barnes.

Price worked a 1-2-3 fifth, seeming to stall any momentum the Dodgers may have had. The Red Sox then built up a full head of steam themselves, rallying for three runs in the bottom half. It looked like Ryu would have a stress-free inning, but with two outs, Christian Vázquez and Mookie Betts hit back-to-back singles. Ryu then walked Andrew Benintendi to load the bases, ending his night. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts brought in right-hander Ryan Madson to face a slew of right-handers. It backfired. Madson issued a bases-loaded walk to Steve Pearce on five pitches, forcing in a run. J.D. Martinez followed up by singling to right field, bringing home two more runs to make it a 4-2 game. Bogaerts struck out to end the inning but the damage was done. The Red Sox, by the way, scored all four of their runs tonight with two outs.

Price also put together a 1-2-3 sixth before giving way to Joe Kelly in the seventh, who did the same on just 11 pitches. Red Sox manager Alex Cora decided to call on Nathan Eovaldi, who has been excellent in October, for the eighth inning. Eovaldi followed suit, setting the Dodgers down in order, throwing 13 pitches himself.

In the top of the ninth, a new-and-improved Craig Kimbrel entered. Kimbrel, as has been widely reported, was informed he was tipping his pitches by retired reliever Éric Gagné. Before closing out the deciding ALCS Game 5, Kimbrel had allowed runs in each of his four playoff appearances, walking five of the 28 batters he faced. He looked much better in Game 5, following Gagné’s intervention, then struck out two in a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 ninth in Game 1. It was more of the same in Game 2. Kimbrel got Machado to fly out, then Taylor and Kemp to ground out, putting the 4-2 victory in the books. Red Sox pitching got the final 16 Dodger batters out consecutively.

With the Red Sox taking a commanding 2-0 series lead, both teams will take Thursday off to travel to Los Angeles. The World Series will resume on Friday night. If they sweep, the Red Sox can take home the championship on Saturday.

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.