The Red Sox won't be without their ace when the ALCS resumes in Houston. Price was given one more shot to complete the fifth but was pulled after walking Tyler White on four pitches. David Price would have to pitch on short rest, or Eduardo Rodriguez could start, though he hasn't thrown more than 44 pitches since September 20.
Price didn't have the outing he would have liked, but he certainly enjoys the end result. That brought Cora out of the dugout with the hook, and as Price handed over the ball and walked off the mound, the Fenway crowd mostly cheered in approval, numerous fans on their feet.
Cora maintained before the game that Sunday was not a must-win.
But for the first time in his career, Price's team won a postseason game he started.
Price followed it with a sharply hit double to Martin Maldonado - who came in to last night hitting.091 in the postseason - so that was definitely on him. That's a streak that Price will no longer have to worry about extending. His team prevailed in a must-win scenario.
"You know early, I thought he was a little over-amped", Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I understand the narratives". Stronger in starting pitching, deeper in the bullpen, more varied on offence and incredibly well-coached, it's nearly as if an opponent needs to play a flawless game to get the better of them. But this is bigger than David Price.
Even in victory, the Red Sox were weakened, though the degree to which is still unknown.
Price wasn't involved in the decision, but the left-hander did leave the game in the fifth with the Red Sox in the lead. If it's baby steps it's baby steps. With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the third inning, and the Red Sox trailing, 4-2, Bradley banged a drive halfway up the Green Monster in left field for a three-run double that gave the Red Sox a 5-4 lead. There's no time to crow-hop or double-clutch in that situation and the mental lapse by Bogaerts allowed a key runner to get on base. The latest came in the ninth inning of Game 2, as the Astros' George Springer and Jose Altuve cracked back-to-back two-out doubles.
So was Price good? "It's all strengths. When you look across the board, all 25 guys on the roster are good baseball players all around". A core of relievers that was a question mark entering the postseason put together another solid effort.
In his lone start against Boston this year at Fenway Park, Keuchel allowed five earned runs over six innings. Craig Kimbrel, who has suddenly become the shakiest part of this underrated bullpen, coughed up another run but managed to slam the door shut to secure the win.
With Price one out away from being eligible for the win, it seemed a cold-hearted move, but absolutely the right one. Ryan Brasier pitched a scoreless inning and erstwhile starter Rick Porcello set the Astros down 1-2-3 in the eighth. That's a tremendous step for a pitcher who has been plagued by his postseason failures throughout his career.
Shortstop Carlos Correa has been on base four times this series, though he's playing with a back injury that's severely limited him for most of the season.