BOSTON -- It was not the pitching line that David Price envisioned, and he remains winless as a starter in postseason play. Yet when the Red Sox celebrated by shaking hands on the Fenway Park infield after Sunday night's Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, the end result
BOSTON -- It was not the pitching line that David Price envisioned, and he remains winless as a starter in postseason play. Yet when the Red Sox celebrated by shaking hands on the Fenway Park infield after Sunday night's Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, the end result felt as fantastic as he imagined it would.
Price had started 10 postseason games in his career without logging a win, but more importantly, his teams were 0-10 in those starts -- including two efforts since joining the Red Sox. That run of futility ended as Price hurled 4 2/3 innings of four-run ball and Boston's bullpen recorded the final 13 outs to seal a 7-5 win over Houston.
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"All I want to do is win," Price said. "I expect myself to be great in big moments, and I haven't done that thus far in my career. But I came here to win, period. I came here to win a World Series and to do it multiple times. And that's what I'm about."
Red Sox manager Alex Cora said that even though Price had thrown well, it had been the right call to go to the bullpen with two outs in the fifth inning and Boston leading, 5-4, leaving Price one out shy of qualifying for his elusive victory.
"We've got to clean a few things up," Cora said of Price, "but overall, his stuff was good. His command was good, and he gave us a chance to win."
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Staked to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, Price gave the advantage back to the Astros. George Springer's two-run single tied the game in the second inning and Marwin Gonzalez launched a two-run homer over the Green Monster in the third, teeing off on a 3-2 offering with two outs.
Jackie Bradley Jr. restored Boston's lead with a bases-clearing double off Gerrit Cole in the third inning, and Price kept Houston off the board in the fourth with a 1-2-3 inning.
"After they put up four runs, he still allowed us to stay in the game," Bradley said. "He competed his tail off, and we were able to tack on a few runs when we needed. He's an ultimate competitor."
Price departed after recording the first two outs of the fifth, leaving a pair of runners aboard for Matt Barnes. Price's walk to Tyler White, his second of the inning, brought the hook as Price received a warm ovation from the crowd of 37,960.
"It's definitely appreciated," Price said. "It wasn't the line I dreamed up to have tonight, but our offense, our defense, everybody rallied together. That's what we've done all year. Whenever starters needed to be picked up, they picked us up, and vice versa. So that was big."
Barnes struck out Gonzalez, sealing Price's line after he scattered five hits, walked four and struck out four. The outing rewarded Cora's trust in handing the ball to Price despite an abbreviated effort against the Yankees in Game 2 of the AL Division Series, in which Price recorded just five outs and was charged with three runs, including two homers and two walks.
In selecting Price over Nathan Eovaldi or Rick Porcello, Cora had heavily weighed Price's recent success against the Astros. Since joining the Red Sox in 2016, Price was 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA in eight appearances (four starts) against them, including two dominant relief performances in last year's playoffs when Cora was Houston's bench coach.
"I felt confident that he was going to throw the ball well against them," Cora said.
Price entered Sunday's contest 0-9 with a 6.03 ERA (40 earned runs in 59 2/3 innings) over 10 career postseason starts. He has now equaled a Major League record for consecutive postseason starts without a victory (11), joining Al Leiter (1997-2000) and Tim Hudson (2002-14).
"I put myself aside," Price said. "This isn't about me. I understand the narratives. I get that. I deserve those narratives. But this is bigger than David Price. This isn't about me. This is about the Boston Red Sox."
Bryan Hoch has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.