1. Rays

World Series journal: Red Sox use more 2-out damage to take 2-0 lead over Dodgers

Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez singles to drive in two against the  Dodgers during the fifth inning in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (Associated Press)
Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez singles to drive in two against the Dodgers during the fifth inning in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (Associated Press)
Published Oct. 25, 2018
Updated Oct. 25, 2018

BOSTON — These Red Sox don't look like they're going to be stopped.

With a second straight strong start by former Rays ace David Price and another display of their relentless offense, the Red Sox beat the Dodgers 4-2 Wednesday to take a 2-0 lead in best-of-seven World Series that shifts west/

"At least we know if things don't go well in L.A. we're coming back, so that's good," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "We played two good games. Today, a tough one. They pitched well. We put up some good at-bats. We pitched extremely well. David was amazing. And then the bullpen did what they've been doing during October. And now we're up 2-0."

The Dodgers have a different view.

"We've got to find a way to win a baseball game,'' manager Dave Roberts said. "Coming in here, I thought we played these guys pretty straight up. Obviously we come out of here going home down 0-2. But they made pitches when they needed to. And when we stressed them, they made the pitch. And then when it flipped, they got the hit. And we didn't. And that's kind of the difference in tonight's game."

Price, who earned his first career postseason win as a starter in last Wednesday's AL pennant clincher at Houston, made it two in a row in the postseason with a dominant outing. He allowed only two runs over six innings on three hits and three walks, striking out five while throwing 88 pitches.

After scoring first for the ninth time in 11 postseason games, the Sox fell behind in Price's one rough stretch. He loaded the bases on two singles and a walk to open the fourth, but he limited the damage to two runs on a Matt Kemp sac fly and a Yasiel Puig single.

"That was very important," Price said. "I just told myself to continue making  pitches. I made a lot of good pitches that inning. They hit some. They took some. That was a tough inning. It could have spun out of control pretty fast.

"And it's been one of my Achilles' heels, especially in the playoffs and even in the regular season, is that big inning. Being able to stop it at two right there after the Puig hit to center, that was big for us."

Roberts agreed, saying "we had him on the ropes."

Boston came back in the fifth to take control again, scoring three runs, and after two were out. That has been a bold stamp on their postseason as they've scored 36 of their 68 runs with two outs, including nine of 12 in the Series. In their 11 playoff games, they are hitting an eye-grabbing .415 with two outs and runners in scoring position.

"Putting the ball in play in those situations is very important," Cora said.

The rally Wednesday started with a two-out single by No. 9 hitter Christian Vazquez off Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu. Mookie Betts followed with a single, and Andrew Benintendi, who also made another highlights worthy catch in left, drew a walk to load the bases.

Roberts then made what was the wrong move, for the second straight game, bringing in reliever Ryan Madson. He walked ex-Ray Steve Pearce to force in the tying run, then a two-run single to J.D. Martinez that proved to be the difference.

"Madson's been our guy for quite some time and he's pitched out of big spots there," Roberts said. "In that spot he's done it time and time again for us, but the last couple of nights it hasn't worked out."

Weather gives new meaning to Dodger Blue

Chillin' out hasn't been much fun for the Dodgers.

As if the majors-best Red Sox and the quirks of their home park aren't enough of a challenge, the SoCal-based Dodgers acknowledged Wednesday afternoon that the cold weather is also a significant factor.

And then taking the field at Fenway Park with a first-pitch temperature of 47, with a wind chill in the 30s, only reminded them.

"It's difficult,'' Roberts said. "I mean, I think every person responds differently. But for us, this is the first time we've played in obviously weather like this. San Francisco a little bit, but nothing like this, so it's an adjustment.

"That's part of the homefield advantage and especially being in the bullpen, where you have a little heater but still have to kind of get hot and stay hot. It's more of a challenge.''

Reliever Ryan Madson admitted he didn't feel as loose — actually, he said, "as gummy" — as usual before going in to pitch in Tuesday's opener and realized he needed to be more active earlier because of the cold, and planned to tell the other relievers to do the same.

A little TMI …

Red Sox INF Brock Holt apologized to Taco Bell on Wednesday after sharing his rather, um, personal reasons for not planning to partake in the free nationwide taco promotion tied to teammate Betts' Game 1 stolen base. "I haven't eaten Taco Bell in probably 10 years," Holt told the Boston Globe, while touting his preference for the Chipotle chain. "I'm going to pretty much stay away from Taco Bell. I could end up on a toilet all night." Holt said he hadn't heard anything directly or through social media from the popular fast food chain about his comments, but he wanted to apologize, knowing "a lot of other people love it" and will take advantage of the offer, slated for Nov. 1 from 2-6 p.m.

Alex the great

Boston manager Alex Cora has been on quite a roll of making the right moves, and he made another that was a key factor in Tuesday's 8-4 opening win. Cora decided to start rookie lefty Rafael Devers at third against Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw ahead of righty-swinging Eduardo Nunez, but he made a point to tell Nunez to stay ready, that he "might have a big at-bat tonight and do your thing." And when Roberts made the decision in the seventh to replace RHP Pedro Baez with LHP Alex Wood, Cora hit for Devers with Nunez, who did his thing with a three-run homer that separated the game.

Nasty Nate

Ex-Rays RHP Nathan Eovaldi was used to work the eighth inning for a second straight night, but Cora said he will return to the rotation in Game 4. "We've been talking about it the whole postseason: We're all in today. And if there's a window we feel is a good matchup for him, we'll use him and then we'll make adjustments," Cora said. RHP Rick Porcello will start Game 3 against Dodgers rookie RHP Walker Buehler.


• The Sox continue to tap into their rich history, bringing in seven members of the 2004 curse-busting team to throw first pitches Wednesday: Alan Embree, Keith Foulke, Pedro Martinez, Kevin Millar, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield. Not invited, Curt Schilling. Dodgers manager Roberts, a member of that Red Sox team, ran out to greet a few of the alums on the field but didn't throw a pitch.

• Figuring the players will get more rest, both teams planned to spend Wednesday night in Boston and fly west in the morning; the Series resumes Friday in Dodger Stadium.

• Cardinals C Yadier Molina won MLB's Roberto Clemente humanitarian award, given for character, community involvement, philanthropy and contributions on and off the field. Molina, who was heavily involved in Hurricane Maria recovery efforts, is the fourth Puerto Rican to win.

• The Sox won the opener in their sixth straight World Series.

• Devers turned 22 Wednesday.