David Price officially is off the playoff schnide. Well, sort of.
The Boston Red Sox left-hander entered Game 2 of the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros with an 0-9 record in 10 career postseason starts and with an overall team record of 0-10.
After Boston was rolled in Game 1 on Saturday, the Sox needed Price to buck a trend that has haunted him for the entirety of his career.
Price worked out of a jam in the first inning, but gave up two runs in the second and two more in the third before buckling down to work into the fifth. The left-hander had the ball taken from him with two outs in the fifth and runners on first and second.
The veteran didn’t last long enough to be eligible to earn the victory, but the Sox bullpen did its job and Boston became the first team to earn a postseason win in a game started by Price.
Final score: Red Sox 7, Astros 5.
Was Price at his best? No. But the first two runs should be charged to shortstop Xander Bogaerts and bad luck. With one out in the second inning, Carlos Correa hit a ground ball to short that Bogaerts had to double clutch, allowing Correa to reach. Three batters later, Price had a chance to get out of the inning, but George Springer somehow was able to fight off an inside fastball and slice it past first baseman Steve Pearce for a two-run double.
Price’s lone bad pitch came in the third when Marwin Gonzalez hit a two-run home run to give Houston the lead. Outside of that pitch, the Red Sox left-hander pitched well enough to earn the win had he been able to get through the fifth. He left the mound to a standing ovation from the Fenway Faithful.
“It was definitely appreciated,” Price said of the ovation, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “It wasn’t the line I dreamed up to have tonight, but our offense, our defense and everybody rallied together, that’s what we have done all year. Whenever our starters needed to be picked up, they picked us up and visa versa.”
The left-hander understandably was happy to finally have his team get the win in a postseason start of his, but the important thing was evening the ALCS.
“I mean we won, that’s my first team win as a starter so that’s — if it’s baby steps it’s baby steps,” Price said. “I expect to win, but I’m very happy that we won.
“I expect myself to be great in big moments, and I haven’t done that thus far in my career,” Price said of his feelings on the team getting a win in his start. “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. I put myself aside. 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.”
The first step in Price’s Red Sox redemption might have been a baby step for all intents and purposes, but it was a baby step that stopped Boston from falling into an 0-2 series hole and set the ALCS up to be a 12-round heavyweight fight.
Here are more notes from Red Sox-Astros Game 2:
— Red Sox ace Chris Sale was hospitalized Sunday night with a stomach illness. He will spend the night in Mass General Hospital. Manager Alex Cora noted the left-hander started feeling bad after Saturday’s Game 1 start.
— Cora announced after the game that right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will start Game 3 in Houston.
— Right-hander Rick Porcello tossed a scoreless eighth inning Sunday. It was his second appearance out of the bullpen this postseason. He will start Game 4 in Houston.
— Jackie Bradley Jr. had the key hit of the night for Boston. The center fielder laced a two-out three-run double off the Green Monster in the third inning to give the Sox a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.