Red Sox dethrone defending champion Astros to reach World Series

AFP
Boston's David Price pitched six shutout innings as the Red Sox dethroned the Houston Astros in five games to reach the 2018 World Series. (AFP Photo/ELSA)

Boston's David Price pitched six shutout innings as the Red Sox dethroned the Houston Astros in five games to reach the 2018 World Series

Boston's David Price pitched six shutout innings as the Red Sox dethroned the Houston Astros in five games to reach the 2018 World Series. (AFP Photo/ELSA)

Los Angeles (AFP) - David Price pitched six shutout innings and Rafael Devers clubbed a three-run homer as the Boston Red Sox booked a World Series berth with a 4-1 win over the defending champion Houston Astros on Thursday.

Price overcame his postseason misery and the Boston offence delivered a pair of homers in support as the Red Sox clinched the American League pennant for the first time since 2013.

Devers hit his homer in the sixth and JD Martinez belted a towering solo shot in the third inning for Boston, who took the series by four games to one.

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Left fielder Andrew Benintendi caught a long fly for the final out of the series for Boston, who ended an 86-year championship drought back in 2004.

"We got four more wins. That was very, very special, absolutely. But we want more," Price said of the Red Sox who are 5-0 in road games this postseason. "To be the one to start the game and help us push our season to the World Series I have never done it before. It is a new feeling to me and one that I definitely enjoy."

The Red Sox will face either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Milwaukee Brewers in Major League Baseball's championship showcase. The Dodgers lead that series 3-2 with game six set for Friday in Milwaukee.

The Red Sox are back in the Fall Classic for the first time in five years. The last time they beat the St. Louis Cardinals in six games.

Boston will be seeking their fourth title in 15 years as they begin the World Series next Tuesday at Fenway Park.

Red Sox left hander Price threw six solid innings on Thursday, allowing just three hits in shutting out the Astros to earn his first victory in his 12th postseason appearance.

Closer Craig Kimbrel took care of business in the ninth to record his fifth save of the playoffs.

Price was 0-9 with a ERA of 6.16 in his previous 11 playoff starts.

He is relieved he won't have to talk about not being able to win in the postseason anymore.

"I don't have to answer that question anymore. And man, it feels good," he said.

Price said when he went to sleep on Wednesday he imagined himself cracking open the champagne.

"My last thought last night before I went to bed was probably a little bit different," Price said. "The night before I pitch, I'm just envisioning myself making pitches, and last night I envisioned myself doing this right here."

Martinez opened the scoring with a 396-foot blast to left field for his second home run of the postseason in front of a crowd of 40,000 at Minute Maid Park. Devers, who turns 22 on Wednesday, also hit a homer to left which scored Mitch Moreland and Ian Kinsler. Devers has 12 RBIs in 10 playoff games.

Moreland got on base with a double to deep left field and Kinsler hit a single to right which moved Moreland over to third base.

Facing elimination, the Astros turned to their ace Justin Verlander. He had a solid performance in a game one win but struggled to contain the Red Sox potent offense on Thursday.

Verlander allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings of work.

The Astros were trying to become the first team to win back to back World Series titles since the New York Yankees won three consecutive beginning in 1998.

"They beat us. We ran out of wins," Astros manager AJ Hinch said.

Boston rookie manager Alex Cora, who celebrated his 43rd birthday by winning the pennant, became the first Puerto Rican skipper to take a team to the World Series.

"This is a great accomplishment but we still have work to do," said Cora, who also trying to be the fifth rookie manager to win a World Series.

Cora was hired a month after Hurricane Maria battered the island.

"I know for everything that we're going through as a nation, as a country, for me to stand up here with this trophy, I know there's a lot of people proud of me in Puerto Rico," he said.

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