Sports

Beleaguered Pitcher Finally Gets Postseason Monkey off His Back, Red Sox Tie ALCS at 1-1

David Price went home a winner in a postseason start for the first time in his career.

That, he insisted, is all he ever cared about.

“This is bigger than David Price,” he said on Sunday night. “This isn’t about me. This is about the Boston Red Sox.”

Price was good enough, the Red Sox relievers were even better, and Jackie Bradley Jr. delivered a go-ahead, three-run double off the Green Monster to lead Boston to a 7-5 victory over the Houston Astros and tie the AL Championship Series at one game apiece.

Price fell one out short of qualifying for the win, which would have been his first in 11 postseason starts. But it was the first time his team had won a playoff game he started, snapping a record run of October futility.

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“It’s baby steps,” said Price, who entered the night 0-9 in 10 career playoff starts. “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.”

In all, Price was charged with four runs on five hits and four walks, striking out four in 4 2/3 innings.

Will the Red Sox win this series?

Price’s teams had lost all 10 of his previous postseason starts, the longest such losing streak in baseball history. He allowed three runs and got just five outs in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Yankees, the only Red Sox loss in the series.

As Price left the field on this night, the crowd rose to applaud the pitcher they booed off the mound in the Division Series, and he tapped the brim of his cap.

“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.”

Game 3 is Tuesday in Houston, followed by two more at Minute Maid Park and a chance for the defending World Series champions to clinch a second straight AL pennant at home.

“We came here and won a game, and they played well tonight,” Houston third baseman Alex Bregman said. “It’s going to be a fun series, so we’re looking forward to going back home.”

Price was spotted a two-run lead in the first inning and then fell behind 4-2 before Bradley clanged one off the left-field wall that Gonzalez chased helplessly as it bounced back toward the infield.

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Price left leading 5-4 with two on with two out in the fifth before Matt Barnes struck out Gonzalez to end the inning and then pitched a perfect sixth to earn the victory. Ryan Brasier pitched a scoreless inning and Rick Porcello set the Astros down 1-2-3 in the eighth.

Closer Craig Kimbrel gave up Jose Altuve’s RBI single with two outs in the ninth before Bregman launched a high fly to left that Andrew Benintendi caught a step in front of the Monster.

“I knew I missed it,” Bregman said. “If I got it, it would have been on the street behind Fenway Park.”

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