Los Angeles, CA — Clayton Kershaw versus David Price, a matchup between two dominant lefty pitchers that have historically struggled in the postseason. But after Sunday night’s game, only the former will continue to have that label.
The Boston Red Sox clinched their fourth World Series title of the 21st Century after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 5, winning the series 4-1.
After an up and down season with the Red Sox, Price was asked to start a potential series-clinching game five in Los Angeles. All the analytics and advanced statistics would have told you that was an advantage for the Dodgers. However, the former CY Young award winner had the performance of a lifetime and pitched seven strong innings, struck out five, gave up three hits and allowed one run – a solo shot to David Freese on the first pitch of the game – on 89 pitches.
During the playoffs, the Red Sox were a team that would put a series of hits together to score. However, it was the home run ball that led them to victory as the team hit four home runs in their 5-1 victory over the Dodgers.
First baseman Steve Pearce started things off in the first inning by hitting a two-run home run off Kershaw to center. Dodgers first baseman David Freese responded in the bottom of the first inning hitting a solo shot to right field, but that was the only run the Dodgers would manage.
Center fielder Mookie Betts hit a solo home run in the top of sixth to extend the Red Sox lead to 3-1. J.D. Martinez followed that up in the seventh inning with a solo homer of his own, the third given up by Kershaw Sunday night. In the top of the eighth, Pearce took Pedro Baez deep for a solo home run extending the Boston lead to 5-1.
After Price exited the game in the bottom of the eighth, Joe Kelly came in relief and struck out the side in order. Chris Sale then entered the game in the bottom of the 9th inning to close things out for his first career postseason save. Sale struck out the side, finishing the game with a backfoot slider to Manny Machado, who went down swinging.
Boston became the seventh team in MLB history to win 108 or more regular season games and go on to win the World Series. Pearce took home the World Series MVP award and became the second mid-season acquisition ever to win the award. Pearce went 4-12 (.333), drove in eight RBI’s and scored five runs in the series.
On the flip side, the Dodgers watched another team celebrate a World Series victory on their home field for the second year in a row. Kershaw’s postseason woes continued as his record now moves to 9-10 with an ERA of 4.28 in 29 games.
This series featured a little bit of everything but was dominated by the Red Sox. In game one, the Red Sox defeated the Dodgers 8-4, thanks to the bats of Martinez, Andrew Benintendi and pinch-hitter Eduardo Nunez – who hit the go-ahead three-run home run. Game two was won by the Red Sox thanks to some very clutch hitting in the fifth inning. Martinez hit a go-ahead single to center field with the bases loaded that scored two runs, giving them a 4-2 victory.
Game three was a wild one that lasted 18 innings and took over seven hours to complete, setting a record for the longest World Series game in history. The Dodgers outlasted the Red Sox in a pitchers duel, 3-2, and won on Max Muncy’s solo home run in the bottom of the eighth.
Boston had a 2-1 lead going into the bottom of 13th, but a throwing error by Ian Kinsler allowed the Dodgers to score the tying run, keeping them in the game.
Game four turned into a slugfest as the Red Sox came out victorious, 9-6. After five scoreless innings, the Dodgers were able to put up four runs in the bottom of the sixth thanks to some sloppy defense. However, Mitch Moreland responded in the top of the seventh with a three-run home run narrowing the score 4-3.
Pearce hit a solo home run in the top of the eighth off of Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen to tie things up. Then, in the top of the ninth, Boston teed off on relievers Dylan Floro, Alex Wood, and Kenta Maeda to put up five runs and take a 9-4 lead. Kike Hernandez hit a two-run home run off of Craig Kimbrel in the bottom of the ninth, but the Boston closer was able to sit down the next two batters.
Rookie manager Alex Cora became the fifth manager in MLB history to win the pennant in his first season.