Price allowed only two runs on three hits with five strikeouts Wednesday in a 4-2 victory over the Dodgers in Game 2 of the World Series, giving Boston a 2-0 lead in best-of-seven championship
Red Sox pitcher David Price making Dodgers pay in World Series
David Price went winless in his first 11 Major League Baseball playoff starts, staying confident in his abilities but unable to produce results at the most critical moments.
But in one fabulous week, the 33-year-old American left-hander has tossed aside 11 seasons worth of frustration and delivered the Boston Red Sox two major post-season triumphs.
Price allowed only two runs on three hits with five strikeouts Wednesday in a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 of the World Series, giving the Red Sox a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven championship final.
Price snapped his 11-start playoff drought last week to beat Houston in the clinching game of the American League championship series.
Against the Dodgers, he combined with three relievers to retire the last 16 batters in order and shake off years of doubt and criticism.
"It's huge," Price said. "This is the biggest stage in baseball. There's no other stage that's going to be bigger.
"To be able to do that, it feels good, for sure. I'm pumped for myself, pumped for all my teammates and coaches for us to be two wins away."
Price became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw at least six innings with at least five strikeouts and not allow more than three hits in back-to-back playoff starts.
"What he did in Houston and what he did tonight, we needed it," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "He threw the ball extremely well. He pitched great in Houston and today he was amazing. He was pitching to the edges of the strike zone.
"This guy is a great pitcher. He has been one of the best pitchers in the big leagues for a while. I'm very proud of him, very happy for him. He deserves it. This guy works, he cares about his teammates."
The feeling is mutual, as designated hitter JD Martinez saw after his two-run single in the fifth inning gave Price the lead entering the sixth.
"He was definitely pumped coming out," Martinez said. "He was out there battling his butt off and you have to tip your hat to him. These last two outings he has been unbelievable.
"I'm so happy for him and proud of him, going through all that criticism he has been getting to bounce back to do what he has been doing. He's a huge part of our team."
For all the importance of the games, Price tries to treat them as just another start.
"I just tried to keep it the same as in every other game. Don't put any added pressure or anything of that nature. Just go out there and throw strikes and execute pitches," Price said before admitting his thrill.
"It's the World Series. If you're not into it, you should probably go home. So I was into it."
Cora removed him after six innings but liked how Price delivered the Red Sox deep enough into the game for relievers to finish the job. And he liked how he discussed strike zone issues with the umpire between innings.
"That's the first time I've seen the whole season where he went to the umpire after the third out and let him know how he felt about the strike zone," Cora said.
"You don't see that often. And when he did that, it was like, OK, cool. Even in the sixth inning, probably he was thinking he was going back in the seventh. He got the last out and there was a smile like I'm good, I'm in control.
"But by that time the manager had decided to take him out of the game."