Verlander cools off Red Sox 7-2 in Game 1 of ALCS

Brenda Watkins
October 15, 2018

Instead, the Red Sox got absolutely shafted, leaving the bases loaded and watching Cora hit the showers with four innings to go.

Judged exclusively by the early innings of the boxscore from Saturday's opener of the best-of-seven ALCS, the game unfolded pretty much as billed.

"I read somewhere in social media", Cora said, "that his only postseason start (in which) he went nine (innings), it was under 50 degrees, he went nine innings and gave up two runs". And I did. It's kind of like embarrassing that it happens in the playoffs. After Verlander exited with a pitch count at 90, the ultra-deep Houston bullpen took over with Ryan Pressly tossing a scoreless seventh followed by Lance McCullers Jr. dealing up a one-two-three eighth.

"He didn't find his slider till the fourth", said Boston manager Alex Cora, who was ejected after the fifth inning for arguing a strike call on Andrew Benintendi.

Fans from both teams aren't happy, though the mistake did end up helping the Red Sox.

With Sale struggling in Game 1 and the Sox trailing in the series, Boston's ALCS hopes rest on a man who is arguably the worst postseason pitcher alive.

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"We'll see tomorrow", Boston catcher Sandy Leon said. The 29-year-old slugger hasn't exactly destroyed Price during previous matches - he's played to a.208 average and a single home run in his last 24 at-bats against the lefty - but a dominant start from Price is anything but guaranteed as he posted just 1 2/3 innings of three-hit, three-run ball during Game 2 of the ALDS. It's not easy, but you have to throw strikes.

Houston took advantage of another hit batter in the sixth - this one by reliever Joe Kelly - and Nunez's fielding error on Gurriel's grounder to take a 3-2 lead. The game-time temperature was 53 degrees and Price allowed two runs in eight innings.

Verlander cruised through the first four innings, throwing just 48 pitches and retiring 10 straight at one point while holding a 2-0 lead.

Sale ran into trouble with two outs in the second, and the Astros capitalized.

"I still like our chances", he said. We're not gonna give up. They've also burned a Chris Sale start. To be able to get out of that inning and keep us tied that was to me, the ballgame. A brief staredown ensued between Bregman and Kelly, though whether the hit by pitch was intentional was clouded by the appearance of the Red Sox' trainer immediately after. Price just doesn't win in the postseason.

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

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