Mitch's Sports: Price Pitching, Benintendi Ballet Put Red Sox Up By Two Over Dodgers In Fall Classic
David Price is pitching with confidence, Andrew Benintendi keeps making outstanding catches in left field, and the two out rally has become a calling card of the Red Sox offense.
Those factors, and a bullpen that no longer appears to be the weak link in a championship caliber chain, has the Red Sox up two games to none in the World series over the Los Angeles Dodgers after a 4-2 win at Fenway Park last night.
As they have in every one of their wins in the 2018 playoffs, the Red Sox got on the board first, with Ian Kinsler driving in Xander Bogaerts in the bottom of the second and David Price cruised through the first three innings before running into trouble in the fourth. He gave up the lead in that inning, but the Dodgers failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity to blow the game open when they had the bases loaded with nobody out and got only two runs out of that scenario.
A sac fly scored one run and then Price gave up a single to Yasiel Puig that gave L.A. a 2-1 lead, but Price struck out Kike Hernandez and then got a fly out to end the inning and you kind of had the feeling the Dodgers let the Sox off the ropes and would regret the failure to land a knock out blow.
In the fifth the Red Sox turned the tables and loaded the bases against L.A. starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, who'd been keeping the vaunted Red Sox offense in check to that point.
Ryu got two quick outs but the Sox have thrived in producing two out rallies. Christian Vazquez singled, Mookie Betts followed suit, and Andrew Benintendi walked to put ducks on every pond. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts didn't trust Ryu to get out of that jam, turning to Ryan Madson out of the bullpen, and that's a move he'd like to take back.
Madson walked Steve Pearce to force in a run and tie the game, and then J.D. Martinez proved he doesn't have to hit home runs to be an offensive threat, instead dumping a flare single to right that scored two more runs.
Price completed the sixth and secured his second straight playoff victory after going his entire ten year career without one. He gave up just three hits and two runs over six innings while striking out five and walking three, and I'd say he was squeezed a bit by the home plate umpire on at least two of those free passes.
Price going six allowed manager Alex Cora to employ just three more relievers in Joe Kelly, starter Nathan Eovaldi, and then closer Craig Kimbrel to seal the win, and that trio was perfect, none of them giving up a hit through the last three innings.
And let's not overlook yet another terrific catch by Andrew Benintendi, who robbed Brian Dozier in the top of the fifth, leaping just in front of the wall doing a baseball version of a grand jetee to snag a line drive screamer that looked destined to dent the Monster when it left the bat.
It'll be Rick Porcello facing the excellent lefty rookie for L.A. Walker Buehler in game three. Without a lefty starting for Boston the Dodger line up will feature more of their left handed power bats, and L.A. did lead the National League in homers this season, so things could turn around quickly if they win game three, but right now the Red Sox are doing exactly what they need to do to reach their goal of a fourth World Series title in the past 15 years.
In the NHL the Toronto Mape Leafs are now 7-3 on the year after a 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Nazem Kadri scored his first goal of the season for the Leafs.
In men's college soccer Seraphin Iradukunda's two goals led the Castleton to a 3- shut-out win over the SUNY Poly Wildcats.
Castleton's Field Hockey squad lost for just the fourth time this season, a 3-1 setback against Rensselaer Polytechnic.
And kudos to the Saint Michael's women's soccer team, which has just one win on the season but ran to a scoreless draw yesterday against rival Franklin Pierce, a team that's tied for first place in the Northeast 10 conference. Purple Knights keeper Liz Vallatini was the star in this one, making a career high 13 saves to earn the shut-out.