EditorsNote: write-thru with quotes, details
BOSTON — Having gotten the better of J.D. Martinez with a three-pitch strikeout in Game 1 of the World Series the night prior, Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Ryan Madson knew what to expect when the Boston Red Sox slugger stepped to the plate against him in Game 2 on Wednesday.
“I faced him a couple of times before. Never a comfortable at-bat for sure,” Madson said pregame. “You know you’re in a pit with a rattlesnake, and one bad move and you’ll get bit if you’re not paying attention.”
Madson couldn’t avoid the bite this time around.
Martinez hit a bases-loaded, two-run single to break a fifth-inning tie as the Red Sox rode yet another two-out rally past the Dodgers for a 4-2 win and 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The series shifts to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Friday. As happy as the Dodgers will be to return to the warmth of home, the Red Sox might be equally excited to hit the road, where they are 5-0 this postseason.
Four Boston pitchers, led by starter David Price, limited the Dodgers to three hits.
“We’ve got to find a way to win a baseball game,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “We’re not swinging the bats well right now. That’s obvious. But I think getting home, seeing their guys in the ‘pen, I think we’ll be ready for Game 3.”
Trailing 2-1 entering the fifth, the Red Sox made two quick outs before five consecutive batters reached base. No. 9 hitter Christian Vazquez and Mookie Betts each singled, and Andrew Benintendi walked to load the bases to end Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu’s night.
Madson came in and walked Steve Pearce on five pitches to force in the tying run. Martinez, playing on a bad right ankle after wiping out rounding second in Game 1, then flared an opposite-field single to right for a two-run lead.
“I faced him yesterday, and it was a very similar situation,” Martinez said. “He was a little wild, and I went up there kind of passive. I said, ‘This is the time. ... Trust your eyes. Go up there and trust your eyes and if it’s a ball, it’s a ball, but don’t go up there being passive.’
“It wasn’t a bad pitch. It was a good pitch. I was just fortunate enough to stay inside of it and dump it in, really.”
Madson has allowed all five runners he’s inherited to score against him through the first two games of the series.
“Madson has been our guy for quite some time, and he’s pitched out of big spots there,” Roberts said. “In that spot, he’s done it time and time again for us, but the last couple of nights it hasn’t worked out.”
The Red Sox entered the contest with a robust .405 average with two outs and runners in scoring position this postseason. Having scored all four of their runs Wednesday night in such situations, they are now up to .415.
“It’s just one of those things where you can’t give them away,” said Betts, who had three hits. “We just grind out at-bats.”
Boston won its sixth straight game, improving to 9-0 this postseason when scoring first.
Price (1-0) won his second consecutive postseason start after going 0-9 in his first 11. The left-hander allowed two runs on three hits in six innings, striking out five and walking three.
“I just tried to keep it the same,” Price said. “Same as in Houston, the same as in every other game. Don’t put any added pressure or anything of that nature.”
Price cruised through the first three innings, allowing no hits and just two walks, both of which came with two outs. Meanwhile, Boston jumped on top 1-0 on Ian Kinsler’s RBI single in the second.
The lone blip for Price came in the fourth inning, when he loaded the bases with no outs. Matt Kemp hit a sacrifice fly to center to tie the score. Price struck out Enrique Hernandez after a nine-pitch at-bat for the second out before Yasiel Puig hit a single to center for a 2-1 Los Angeles lead.
After Price whiffed Austin Barnes to end the inning, he had a short conversation with plate umpire Kerwin Danley, who ruled most close pitches on the inside of the plate balls throughout the night.
“It’s the World Series,” Price said. “If you’re not into it, you should probably go home. So I was into it.”
Price retired the last seven batters he faced, including Brian Dozier on a lineout to left to lead off the fifth, with Benintendi making a leaping grab.
“On a personal note, I’m very proud for him,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of his starter. “Like he said the last time, there’s not going to be questions in spring training about David Price.”
The Dodgers went down in order across their last 16 batters. Joe Kelly struck out two in the seventh, Nathan Eovaldi fanned one in the eighth, and Craig Kimbrel tossed the ninth to earn his sixth save this postseason.
Ryu (0-1) allowed four runs on six hits in his 4 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking one.
—Kyle Brasseur, Field Level Media