LEADING OFF: Red Sox seek to clean things up vs Astros

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Houston regained the lead in the top of the sixth on a Carlos Correa single and added four runs in the ninth to put the game away.

"Knowing that A.J. doesn't have to go grab our fifth starter and hope that he can get through three or four innings of a close playoff game, yeah, that gives me a lot of comfort this year compared to last, for sure", Luhnow said. He allowed three runs and got just five outs in Game 2 against the Yankees, the only Red Sox loss in the series.

Cora has expressed confidence in Price, a Cy Young Award victor who is 0-9 in 10 career postseason starts, and the 108-win Red Sox will need him to be better than Sale was in the opener.

Sale allowed just one hit in four innings against the Astros in Saturday's Game 1 at Fenway, but walked four batters, saw his velocity uncharacteristically low for much of the outing and struggled with his command - especiall with his tradmark slider. Nursing a 2-0 lead in the second inning, he experienced some bad luck when George Springer bent a ball over Steve Pearce's head that barely stayed fair and plated two to even the score.

There were two out, two on and two runs already in when Justin Verlander threw a 98 miles per hour fastball to Andrew Benintendi near the outside corner Saturday for strike three.

Mookie Betts hit a hard grounder, and third baseman Alex Bregman threw home for the force and the second out.

Cora disagreed with a strike call that resulted in Andrew Benintendi stranding the bases loaded in the fifth inning.

Cora was apparently yelling at the umpires after the inning and got tossed.

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Joe Kelly took the loss, giving up an unearned run on Correa's hit following an error by Eduardo Nunez. He said the Boston bullpen was "tremendous" as they closed out the game, and said it feels great to play a role - however small - in a postseason win.

"You can ask any of my teammates for the 10 years I've been in the big leagues - or coaches or anybody that's been around me". Bregman could have been retired on a would-be double play ball that was bobbled at third base by Nunez. Ryan Brasier pitched a scoreless inning and erstwhile starter Rick Porcello set the Astros down 1-2-3 in the eighth. His last time on the mound, against the Yankees, featured an ugly, 1⅔ -inning performance, as his October failures have shifted from a narrative that was media-driven to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

"Ken served us very well".

Cole allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits in six innings. "We trust those guys".

"We won. That's my first team win as a starter".

It's no secret that the Boston Red Sox have elite hitters.

"Alex told me before we even got off the field that night" that he would get another start, Price said before the game. He scored a batter later when Jose Altuve drove him in with a loud single to left.

Cole was 15-5 with a 2.88 ERA in the regular season.